Texas Governor Rick Perry, a Republican candidate for U.S. president, addressed the National Association of Manufacturers forum held in Pella, Iowa, on Tuesday November 1. Governor Perry was asked about his support for energy tax credits and the renewable fuels standard.
Upon hearing Perry's answer, Walt Wendland, president of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, was not pleased. Wendland, who is CEO of an ethanol plant at Mason City, issued the following statement:
Perry energy plan does not match Perry rhetoric
"When you read Governor Perry's energy plan, it does not match his rhetoric on the campaign trail. Despite some rhetorical flourishes that we may all agree on, the actual Perry energy plan leaves Iowa running on empty. Let me provide four examples.
First, Governor Perry said he supports an "all of the above" energy policy. However, he is the only candidate for the Republican nomination campaigning in Iowa that has not opposed an effort by Texas Congressmen to ban E15 (15% ethanol blends), a domestic alternative to foreign oil. Such a ban would rip fuel choice out of the hands of consumers and replace it with a de facto mandate of more foreign oil. That is not the free market.
Second, Governor Perry stated that the government shouldn't be "picking winners and losers," but his energy plan does just that. Today in Pella, Governor Perry made clear his opposition to the federal renewable fuels standard (RFS). However, the Perry energy plan would leave intact federal law and regulations mandating that over 95% of vehicles on the road be filled with a fuel that is a minimum of 85% petroleum. A violation of this federal petroleum mandate is punishable by a $37,000 per day fine. So, in reality, the Governor has picked a winner, and it is oil.
Third, Governor Perry said today he wants to get rid of all the tax credits for oil and gas, in addition to renewable fuels. To accomplish this, the Perry energy plan would allow energy tax credits to expire when they come up for renewal. However, everyone in the energy industry knows that all renewable tax credits have specific expiration dates while no petroleum tax credits have an expiration date. Therefore, despite the campaign rhetoric, there is no plan for eliminating oil tax subsidies, some of which go back almost 100 years. That is not a fair energy tax policy.
Finally, the Perry campaign recently said their plan is designed "so that all forms of American energy are more competitive." However, of the 29 specific policy recommendations in the Perry energy plan, at least 18 are designed to promote the production and use of oil and natural gas. Not a single policy recommendation is targeted to promote the production and use of renewable fuels. That is not a broad based energy plan. The Perry energy plan would further tilt the playing field in favor of oil."
IRFA displeased with candidate Jon Huntsman's ignoring of ethanol
Presidential candidate and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, a Republican, made an energy policy speech November 2 in New Hampshire. "Like his campaign, Huntsman's energy speech ignores Iowa," says Wendland, who issued the following statement:
"Former Governor Jon Huntsman is a serious man who is not afraid to tackle serious problems. But his energy plan, just like his campaign, pretends as if Iowa does not exist. One can't help but wonder if Huntsman's renewable fuels blind spot stems from his experience leading his family's chemical company. Huntsman Chemical was once a large producer of MTBE, a gasoline component banned by many states after it polluted water supplies. Much to their dismay, MTBE was replaced in gasoline supplies by clean, renewable ethanol.
"To be fair, Governor Huntsman obviously understands the harm from our 'heroin-like addiction to foreign oil.' And at the 50,000-foot level he understands what must be done to end that addiction – 'break oil's monopoly as a transportation fuel…create a truly level playing field for competing fuels.' In fact his call for increased scrutiny of the 'concentration of [petroleum] distribution ownership' is a unique and often overlooked hurdle to true fuel choice.
Candidate Huntsman should come to Iowa and see the fields of possibility
"Yet as one descends into the details of his solutions, there is a blatant lack of renewable solutions. His speech mentioned 16 solutions to foreign oil, but only geothermal was something other than fossil fuel-related.
Ethanol currently provides nearly 10% of America's gasoline supply. Further, since the enactment of the renewable fuels standard in 2005, America's net petroleum imports have fallen 11%, from over 60% of demand to 49%.
"Governor Huntsman apparently isn't aware that ethanol is playing a major role as we 'unshackle ourselves from the scourge of foreign oil.' And ethanol will play a bigger role in the future. Governor Huntsman would do well to swing by Iowa and see the fields of possibility."
Editor's Note: Walt Wendland is the CEO of Golden Grain Energy near Mason City, Iowa and Homeland Energy Solutions near Lawler, Iowa. He is currently serving his second term as President of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association 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 at www.IowaRFA.org.