WASHINGTON — Growth Energy, the country’s leading coalition of ethanol supporters, credited the Obama White House with embracing domestic production of alternative energy — particularly ethanol — to offset soaring costs of foreign oil.
“President Obama deserves credit for identifying both short and long term solutions to reducing our nation’s dependence on foreign oil by encouraging the increased use of ethanol and next generation biofuels. He particularly recognized the role of America’s farmers in the production of corn ethanol today and next-generation biofuels in the future. Ethanol is part of the solution, whether that ethanol comes from grain or cellulosic biomass,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy.
Buis also commended the president for recognizing that the infrastructure barrier must be removed to increase the use of more home-grown fuels. Last year, Growth Energy proposed their Fueling Freedom plan, which reformed ethanol tax provisions to increase the number of Flex Fuel vehicles on the road and Flex Pumps at filling stations, in order to allow open access to the fuel market and allow consumers choice at the pump.
Buis noted that many elements of the Obama plan are drawn from the Growth Energy proposal.
The Obama plan aims to reduce imports of foreign oil by a third in ten years. The plan includes proposals to reduce market barriers to increased biofuel use — goals Growth Energy has long championed. The plan also recognizes the importance of Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Agriculture grants, loans and loan guarantees that spur American ingenuity and will allow producers to develop the next generation of biofuels.
While the Administration recognized the strides corn-based ethanol has already taken in reducing our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, the President set a goal of breaking ground on at least four commercial-scale cellulosic or advanced bio-refineries, each capable of producing more than 20 million gallons per year, over the next two years. The President also challenged his Secretaries of Agriculture, Energy and the Navy to investigate how they can work with the private sector to create advanced biofuels that can power fighter jets, trucks and commercial airliners.
Jeff Broin, chairman of Growth Energy and CEO of POET, testified before the US Senate Agriculture Committee this morning, specifying how ethanol reduces fuel prices at the pump by anywhere from 17 to 40 cents a gallon. Mr. Broin’s POET plants are innovators in the cellulosic ethanol industry, and Mr. Broin echoed the President’s remarks about the importance of developing second-generation biofuels to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.