As I noted in the most recent Domestic Fuel Cast, neither President Barack Obama or former Governor Mitt Romney get too specific when talking about renewable energy (ethanol was mentioned just once by name during their three debates in October, and biodiesel seemed to be just about as absent). But that doesn’t mean they won’t mention these things when directly asked. So, the American Soybean Association decided to pose the question directly to them about the renewable energy source most near and dear to its heart, biodiesel.
Pointing out the rising cost of foreign oil, monetarily and national security-wise, and the fact that biodiesel, made from soybeans reduces the need for oil while also producing animal feedstock and putting more Americans back to work in biodiesel refineries, the ASA asked each candidate: How would your administration protect the ability of the biodiesel industry to remain viable?
President Obama: We must invest in a clean energy economy that will lead to new jobs, new businesses, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. I recently announced a new goal of cutting oil imports in half by the end of the decade. Developing the next generation of biofuels will help us achieve this goal, and reducing our dependence on foreign oil will help create millions of new jobs that can’t be outsourced. We are already making progress. U.S. biofuel production is at its highest level in history. Last year, rural America produced enough renewable fuels to meet roughly 8 percent of our needs, helping us increase our energy independence to its highest level in 20 years. And a higher renewable fuel standard is boosting an industry that supports 39,000 jobs and ensuring its continued growth.
Governor Romney: I have a plan to achieve North American energy independence by 2020, and biofuels will play a role in enabling us to achieve that goal. I believe that all of our energy resources are and should continue to be a source of long-term competitive advantage for ournation. My policies broadly aim to ensure that all of our energy industries can sustainably become competitive, innovative and efficient. I support biofuels, as well as the RFS and would seek to eliminate the regulatory barriers to a diversification of our fuel system.
Read the rest of their responses to other questions ASA posed here.