The first annual leadership conference for Growth Energy, the ethanol industry organization that was formed just 16 months ago, was held this week in Phoenix to focus on the future.
The conference included roundtable discussions on a number of topics, including navigating policy in Congress during an election year. A bipartisan panel moderated by Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis featured former Republican Congressman Jim Nussle; Melissa Shannon who served as a legislative advisor to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; Josh Gottheimer, former advisor to President Bill Clinton; and Karen Hughes, a former advisor to President George W. Bush.
“We had the opportunity to bring our membership together, sit down and have a very open and honest conversation about where we are in the policy making arena today, what our goals are moving forward, and how we envision the pathway to get there,” said Growth Energy board member Steve McNinch, CEO of Western Plains Energy in Kansas, during an interview after the conference concluded on Tuesday.
McNinch says there are two primary policy issues that the organization will be focused on this year – the joint lawsuit that filed in California with the Renewable Fuels Association and expiration of the VEETC and the Brazilian tariff issue coming up at the end of the year. “These are not easy issues to get through,” said McNinch, and when it comes to Congress this year, “until health care debate gets out of the way, you’re not really going to see much movement on anything.”
Listen to or download my interview with Steve McNinch here: