Growth Energy to Former Vice President Gore: Comments About First Generation Ethanol Misguided

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Growth Energy, the coalition of U.S. ethanol supporters, sent a letter to former Vice President Al Gore asking him to come visit a modern ethanol plant to see firsthand the many benefits of today’s ethanol industry. First generation ethanol is revitalizing our rural economies, reducing our dependence on foreign oil and cleaning our skies.

At a luncheon delivered at the Biotechnology Industry Organization 2010 convention this week, former Vice President Gore acknowledged that first generation biofuels has “set the stage for the development of second- and third-generation fuels” but said that his former support for ethanol made from corn and sugar beet a “mistake.”

In response to these comments, Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis sent a letter to former Vice President Gore outlining the substantial contribution that first generation ethanol has made to the local and national economies and inviting him to visit a modern day ethanol plant.

“Saying his past support for first generation ethanol was a mistake, is a mistake in itself,” said Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis. “The contributions of first generation ethanol to our nation’s economy, environment and energy production are not a mistake, but a success story. Today’s ethanol industry provides 10% of our nation’s fuel. It is produced right here in America, supports 654,000 jobs in the United States, generating $92 billion in economic activity for this country, largely in rural areas that desperately need to reinvigorate their economies. And today’s ethanol is 59 percent cleaner than conventional gasoline.”

President Obama recently visited a Growth Energy member plant in Macon, Mo., during his ‘White House to Main Street’ tour and commended the plant workers for their contribution to America’s clean energy future. Buis said that a visit to an ethanol plant would provide an opportunity for the former Vice President to see firsthand the many benefits of grain ethanol, and the role it will play in next generation biofuels.

In a letter to the former Vice President, Buis wrote, “Please consider my invitation with all the respect and seriousness with which I offer it to you. A debate on energy is badly needed in this country, and for too long, distortions and untruths about ethanol were allowed to remain unanswered. I would hope you would see this as an opportunity to find out some of the facts firsthand, yourself.”

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About Growth Energy
Growth Energy is a group committed to the promise of agriculture and growing America’s economy through cleaner, greener energy. Growth Energy members recognize America needs a new ethanol approach. Through smart policy reform and a proactive grassroots campaign, Growth energy promotes reducing greenhouse gas emissions, expanding the use of ethanol in gasoline, decreasing our dependence on foreign oil, and creating American jobs at home. More information can be found at