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18 May 2014 - The Energy Industry Needs Your Voice

The battle is heating up again; the battle between those who support ethanol, bio-diesel and renewable sources of energy, primarily led by farmers and commodity groups, and then the other side with big oil leading the way along with some consumer groups opposed to giving up any share of the energy market to ethanol or bio-diesel.

The battle started back in the 1970's when we called it ‘gasohol’. Since that time the oil industry has poured millions of dollars into the campaign to put renewable sources of energy, primarily ethanol, out of our energy mix.

Now the battle is heating up again because the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to make an announcement on how it will deal with the Renewable Fuels Standard before the end of June.

I commend Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for his strong support of ethanol and the renewable energy industry. Recently, in Washington, the Secretary said. . . “The oil industry has made a concerted, organized, well-financed attack on the Renewable Fuels Standard. A lot of focus has been on the EPA and the administration, but it is the oil industry that has gone to court to try to limit the impact of the RFS. It is the oil industry that has gotten to Capitol Hill to try to insert in appropriation bills and in other bills, an elimination, curtailment or restriction of the Renewable Fuels Standard. It is the oil industry that was able to obtain in the Farm Bill, restrictions on how we can use resources. We previously have been able to use them to fund blender pumps. That is no longer authorized or allowed. We are going to get around that. We have additional programs we can use to assist; that will make it a bit more difficult for us, but we are going to continue to focus on expanding access to higher blends, because that is one way of responding to the concerns with the blend wall.” Those are the words of Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who has not been bashful about criticizing the oil industry on their stand on renewable energy.

Thousands of you have already sent messages to your members of Congress expressing your support for RFS as it now stands and that has made an impression on the EPA. If you haven’t, there is still time to express your support.

Tell the EPA that ethanol and bio-diesel are important to America; creating jobs in rural communities, creating stronger markets for corn and soybeans, cleaning up the air and cutting our dependence on foreign oil. Let them know we don’t have big oil’s money, but we do have strong feelings and a strong voice in rural America.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.