Governors Urge Congress To Protect Ethanol, Biodiesel

Governors Urge Congress To Protect Ethanol, Biodiesel

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad chairs coalition of 30 governors urging Congress to protect biofuels, keep the Renewable Fuels Standard intact.

The governors of 30 states which belong to the U.S. Governor's Biofuels Coalition have issued a letter to all members of Congress urging them to leave the federal Renewable Fuels Standard alone. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is chairman of the coalition.

"As governors who see firsthand the impact that the Renewable Fuels Standard has had on our states, we urge you to reject any modifications to the RFS," the letter said. "By intentionally using misinformation, biofuels opponents damage the nation's economy, environment and energy security."

IRFA commends Governors' Biofuels Coalition for its strong support of RFS

DON'T MESS WITH THE RFS: Iowa Renewable Fuels Association last week commended the national Governor's Biofuels Coalition for strong support of the federal Renewable Fuels Standard. The coalition of governors representing 30 states sent a letter to all members of Congress urging them to leave the RFS alone. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad chairs the coalition. "Gov. Branstad and the other governors in the coalition set the record straight on the RFS in the letter they sent to every member of the U.S. House and Senate," says IRFA executive director Monte Shaw.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association thanked the Governors' Biofuels Coalition for standing behind the federal Renewable Fuels Standard and sending letters stating their strong support to the leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. IRFA executive director Monte Shaw stated: "We commend Gov. Branstad and the entire Governors' Biofuels Coalition for taking a firm stance in support of the RFS. These governors have seen firsthand the success of the program and they are a powerful voice to set the record straight on renewable fuels and the RFS, the nation's most successful energy policy."

"This vigorous show of support for the RFS gives those who are fighting for biodiesel a much needed shot in the arm," says Randy Olson, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board. "It shows that our elected leaders see through the ploys of opponents who want to stay with the status quo of our destructive addition to foreign oil. We hope all members of Congress heed the message."

The letter outlines how biofuels can help achieve worthy public policy goals, says Olson. It also noted that with the support of governors, Congress strengthened the RFS in 2007 by including advanced biofuels. "We're proud of the fact that since the passage of the RFS, the U.S. has reversed the course of our dependence on imported oil," Olson says. "While this trend is not due to biofuels alone, it underscores the value of having a diversified energy portfolio."

Congressional Energy Committee report on RFS highlights federal petroleum mandate

Also in the news last week, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee released a "white paper" analyzing the federal renewable fuels standard, or RFS, and a so-called E10 blend wall. On page two, the white paper highlights that new fuels are banned from competing with petroleum products unless first approved for use by the federal government. This federal petroleum mandate hampers consumers from purchasing the ethanol blend of their choice.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~

In response to the white paper, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association executive director Monte Shaw made the following statement:

"IRFA welcomes a full, fair and factual review of the RFS by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. However, the initial white paper focused on the so-called 'blend wall' is very one-sided. In fact, it seems to approach every issue from the Big Oil point of view. For example, despite the contention, there simply is no such thing as a real 'E10 blend wall.' The reality is that refiners are going to great lengths to construct an artificial blend wall through their own direct actions as an excuse to tear apart the RFS.  Such a conclusion by elected officials would be highly ironic given that the RFS was enacted with the expressed purpose of cracking the petroleum monopoly and forcing the oil companies to allow alternative options to compete  -- options like cheaper, cleaner, higher performing E15."

Federal petroleum mandate blocks new fuels from competing with petroleum

"In what was perhaps an unintended moment of balance, the white paper does highlight that federal law establishes a federal petroleum mandate," notes Shaw. "That is, a federally enforced prohibition of any fuel that contains less than 85% petroleum. The federal petroleum mandate is one of the biggest problems today preventing fuel competition, consumer choice, and lower cost fuel options for Americans."

Iowa is the leader in renewable fuels production. Iowa has 41 ethanol refineries capable of producing over 3.7 billion gallons annually, with one wet mill and two cellulosic ethanol facilities currently under construction. In addition, Iowa has 12 biodiesel facilities with the capacity to produce nearly 315 million gallons annually. The IRFA was formed in 2002 to represent the state's liquid renewable fuels industry. The trade group fosters the development and growth of the renewable fuels industry in Iowa through education, promotion, legislation and infrastructure development. For more information, visit the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association website.

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