Monroe, Wis.—Wisconsin ethanol supporters say now is the time for a comprehensive energy bill and Congress needs to include ethanol as a part of America’s cleaner, greener energy future.
Gathered in front of Badger State Ethanol, members of Growth Energy, the coalition of U.S. ethanol supporters, along with representatives of the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association and Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance, told reporters that ethanol is the only viable alternative to oil available today and the best bet to prevent another environmental catastrophe like that in the Gulf of Mexico.
“Every oil sodden animal and oil coated beach we see on the nightly news is another painful reminder of the true costs of our addiction to oil,” said Gary Kramer, president of Badger State Ethanol. “We as a nation owe it to ourselves, our children and our planet to find a better way. We need a future that depends less on oil and more on American-made biofuels, like ethanol.”
Ethanol has 60 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline, provides thousands of good paying jobs in rural areas, including tens of thousands in Wisconsin, and provides a clean, homegrown alternative to oil, said Kramer.
“We know ethanol is viable and valuable as an alternative fuel. Yet the federal government has capped the amount of ethanol that can be blended in our tanks to just 10 percent. We need to lift that cap and give consumers a choice at the pump,” said Kramer.
Presently the Environmental Protection Agency is considering a request to raise the limit of ethanol blended in conventional gasoline to 15 percent (E15). The agency was supposed to make a decision on the matter in last December, but recently delayed, for a second time, any such action until early fall.
Raising the cap could produce as many as 136,000 new jobs in America—jobs that cannot be shipped overseas.
In addition to approving E15, the ethanol supporters are asking Congress to:
* Create an infrastructure in which American motorists can easily choose alternative fuel by requiring all cars sold in America to be “flex-fuel” vehicles that can use virtually any blend of ethanol and gasoline.
* Support significantly wider usage of “blender pumps” at gas stations so that motorists can choose for themselves the most suitable fuel at the best value.
* Ensure the construction of dedicated ethanol pipelines to move the fuel quickly and cost-effectively around the country.
* Move quickly to renew the import tariff and blenders’ tax credit which enable our industry to grow without interference from subsidized foreign ethanol.
“Ethanol and biofuels in general reduce greenhouse gas emissions, are a reliable and renewable source of energy and provide economic benefits to all American families—either through growing America’s fuel directly or through purchasing it at the pump,” said Bob Oleson, president of the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association. “No job has ever been sent overseas because of ethanol, no war has ever been fought to protect it and no ecosystem has ever been destroyed because of it,” added Oleson echoing a recent advertising campaign by Growth Energy and the Wisconsin Corn Growers.
A recent study from the USDA’s Office of Energy Policy showed a substantial net energy gain in ethanol production in just the last six years, clearly demonstrating the technological advancements happening in ethanol production.
“The findings prove that ethanol production is becoming cleaner and more efficient at a time when oil production continues to become dirtier and more difficult to extract,” said Jason Rae, Associate Director of the Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance.
Tuesday’s press conference was one of several being held across the country in recent days designed to remind Congress of the importance of ethanol in the nation’s energy future.
Congress is expected to debate new energy legislation before the fall.
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 GrowthEnergy.org