Ethanol Plays Key Role in Iowa Campaigning

caucusSen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) won the Republican ticket in Iowa last night with Donald Trump coming in second despite Cruz’s ambiguity on ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). However, compared to the campaigning four years ago, ethanol has gained a significant amount of positive ground according to a press conference held by Growth Energy. The Iowa Caucus kicks off the beginning of the nomination process for the next U.S. president.

Tom Buis, co-chair of Growth Energy, noted on the call that the oil industry is calling the results proof that Iowans don’t care about ethanol. However, he says the facts are, “Over 80 percent of the votes yesterday in Iowa were cast for candidates that are in favor for the RFS.” The results find that there were more pro-RFS votes made in Iowa this year than in 2012.

For example, in 2012 in Iowa, anti-RFS candidate votes were cast for Ron Paul: 21.5 percent; Rick Perry: 10.4 percent; and Michele Bachmann: 5 percent for a total of 36.9 percent. Whereas in 2016, anti-RFS votes were for Ted Cruz: 27.7 percent and Rand Paul: 4.5 percent for a total of 32.2 percent.

According to Paul Tewes, political strategist, who has been a keen observer of the campaigning process, said he has never seen ethanol more talked about, perform better as a whole, or have a politician like Ted Cruz be more contorted about how to talk about it than this one. “This was a race here where ethanol was put on the map, where candidates had to talk about it and most of the candidates moved either completely for it, or the few that didn’t, moved towards it.”

He also noted that if Cruz is the Republican nominee, then he believes Democrats will take the state in November.

Monte Shaw, executive director for the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) added that the effort to support the RFS in Iowa has always been more than about one candidate. “It was about trying to get candidates to understand the reality of the support oil gets from the government and how the RFS cracks through that monopoly.”

To learn more about Iowa voter support for ethanol and the RFS, listen to the full press conference including the Q&A here: Iowa Caucus Results Press Conference

Growth Launches TV Ads for Iowa Caucus

It’s caucus day in Iowa and Growth Energy has launched a TV and digital ad campaign highlighting ethanol’s contribution to the state and country. The spot features Iowa farmer Chris Soules, star of hit shows The Bachelor and Dancing with the Stars. The ad will appear nationwide on Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC.

growth-energy-logo1“Thanks to homegrown ethanol, we’re seeing major economic and environmental benefits,” said Tom Buis, co-chair of Growth Energy. “American-made ethanol cuts our dependence on foreign oil and reduces greenhouse gas emissions, creates jobs and provides consumers with a choice at the pump. Ethanol and the RFS are crucial to continue allowing America’s farmers and innovators to produce clean, renewable energy here at home. It’s no coincidence that an overwhelming, bipartisan majority of candidates for president have all realized the immense benefits and potential of ethanol.”

“It’s important now more than ever that we recognize ethanol’s critical role in America’s energy policy. Ethanol makes up 10 percent of the current motor fuel supply and it is continuing to grow as we see widespread adoption of higher blends such as E15. Ethanol is a 21st century fuel for 21st century vehicles. We must ensure its continued support and development as we work to meet our growing energy needs,” Buis concluded.

Groups Sue EPA Over RFS

A coalition has sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), over the final rules of the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2014, 2015 and 2016 that were finalized near the end of last year. The current levels for fuels do not meet legislative mandates for those years regardless of the fact that the biofuels industry has shown they can meet fuel volumes.

rfs-mess-2A group that consists of seven industry associations including BIO, Americans for Clean Energy, American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), Growth Energy, National Corn Growers Association, the National Sorghum Producers, filed the suit on Friday, January 8, 2016 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (Case 16-1005).

According to a group statement, among other things, the petitioners intend to demonstrate that EPA’s interpretation of its general waiver authority is contrary to the statute. By focusing on fuel distribution capacity and demand rather than supply, and by failing to consider surplus RINs from prior years, the Agency erroneously concluded that there was an inadequate supply of renewable fuel to justify a waiver of the levels established by Congress. The petitioners also plan to point out other fundamental flaws and inconsistencies in the government’s rule.

A preliminary, non-binding listing of issues to be raised in the court of appeals will be filed by February 11. The statement concluded, “The petitioners look forward to presenting their arguments to the court of appeals to provide clarity and certainty to market participants concerning the requirements of the statute.”

Corn, LP Joins Growth Energy

Corn, LP has joined Growth Energy, an organization comprised of the ethanol industry and biofuel supporters. Corn, LP is located in Goldfield, Iowa and has a nameplate production capacity of 60 million gallons per year.

growth-energy-logo1“We are excited that Corn, LP has joined the Growth Energy team,” said Growth Energy co-chairman Tom Buis. “Corn, LP is an outstanding plant that provides a great market for corn growers in the heart of Iowa and produces highly nutritious animal feed for the region. Corn, LP also creates good jobs that cannot be outsourced, improves our environment and reduces our dependence on foreign oil.”

Corn LP logoDr. John Gazaway, President of Corn, LP, commended the partnership, saying, “By joining Growth Energy, we will be able to further our mission of adding value to locally grown grains and benefitting our community through economic growth. We are also proud to support Growth Energy’s efforts to ensure a strong future for our industry.”

China Instigates Anti-Dumping Investigation

China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) has initiated anti-dumping countervailing duty investigations into U.S. produced distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) exported to the country. Both the ethanol industry and the grains industry expressed concern over the announcement.

Dried Distillers GrainsPresident and Chief Executive Officer Thomas N. Sleight with the U.S. Grains Council responded by saying, “We are disappointed to see today the initiation of anti-dumping and countervailing duties investigations of U.S. DDGS exports to China. We believe the allegations by the Chinese petitioners are unwarranted and unhelpful. They could have negative effects on U.S. ethanol and DDGS producers, as well as on Chinese consumers, potentially over a period of many years. We are also confident that our trading practices for DDGS, ethanol and all coarse grains and related products are fair throughout the world. We stand ready to cooperate fully with these investigations and will be working closely with our members to coordinate the U.S. industry response.

“The U.S. Grains Council has worked in China since 1981 to find solutions to the challenges of food security through development and trade. There have been measureable positive effects of this work for the Chinese feed and livestock industries and Chinese consumers. We and our members will work vigorously in the coming months to demonstrate that the allegations being investigated by MOFCOM are false, even while we continue to stand ready to expand our cooperation with China on agricultural issues of mutual benefit.”

This is not the first time that China has been down this road. Back in 2011 China began an investigation into DDGs but then in 2012, they dropped it. Now, in 2015, they have re-begun the process.

Tom Buis, co-chair of Growth Energy, weighed in with a statement noting his dissatisfaction with the allegations. “We are disappointed to see the initiation of anti-dumping and countervailing duties cases against U.S. DDGS exports to China. The false allegations by the Chinese petitioners have the potential to seriously threaten our largest overseas market for DDGS and could have a significant impact on the supply, demand and price for DDGS in the U.S. and other foreign markets. We are working closely with our members and the U.S. Grains Council as it coordinates an industry response.”

Ethanol Industry Responds to API’s State of Energy

Yesterday American Petroleum Institute’s (API) Jack Gerard delivered the 2016 State of American Energy Address. During the presentation he made remarks about the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), federal energy legislation that API has been a vocal opponent of since it’s inception in 2007.

API Jack Gerard,jpgCiting impediment of environmental improvement and cost to consumer Gerard remarked, “For example, ignoring clear consumer preference and in spite of the current record levels of domestic crude oil production, EPA continues to push the Renewable Fuel Standard, a relic of our nation’s era of energy scarcity and uncertainty.

A 2014 Congressional Budget Office study projected that the RFS could raise the cost of fuel prices because “Given the design of the RFS, the cost of encouraging additional sales of high-ethanol fuel falls on the producers and consumers of gasoline and diesel.”

What’s more, there is very little consumer demand for high ethanol fuels….It is well past time that we end or significantly amend the RFS.”

The ethanol industry responding to API’s continued attack on the RFS. Tom Buis, Growth Energy co-chair said, “API’s ‘State of American Energy’ speech, brought to you by Big Oil, is nothing new. While oil companies talk about the future of energy in this country, they seem fixated on a finite resource and fail to acknowledge that renewable fuels play a critical role in meeting the nation’s growing energy needs.

growth-energy-logo1“Year after year, API attempts to drive the narrative that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) must be reformed or repealed. This argument is fundamentally flawed. The claims that renewable fuels will increase the cost of energy or that they are worse for the environment are simply ridiculous. Countless independent studies have shown that renewable fuels like ethanol help drive down the cost of fuel. Furthermore, when it comes environmental damage, no one has a worse record than oil companies. Their record of ecological disasters is extensive and deeply troubling.Between 2008 and 2014, more than 25,000 oil spills accounted for more than 217 million gallons of oil and petroleum based products being dis­charged into U.S. navigable waterways, territorial waters, tributar­ies, the contiguous zone, onto shoreline, or into other waters and land that threaten the environment. That’s an average of more than 30 million gallons spilled a year. In contrast, ethanol is biodegradable and no beaches have ever been closed due to an ethanol spill…

API notes the importance of consumers in their speech, yet seems to believe the American consumer is best served by denying them a choice. Furthermore, they attempt to distort the truth saying there is no demand for renewable fuels. Yet major retail chains like Sheetz, Kum & Go, MAPCO and others are adopting higher blends and offering them to consumers and seeing tremendous success and growing demand.

The bottom line is that API wants to kill any competition that may threaten their bottom line and record profits….The RFS is a win-win for America, as it is an essential part of a true ‘all of the above’ energy strategy needed to meet the growing energy demands of the 21st century.” (Click here for Buis’ complete remarks.)

Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen soundly rejected API’s claims. “I’m not sure what reality Jack is living in, but it is clear that he believes API’s actions and policies are making our nation more energy secure when nothing could be rfalogo1further from the truth. Perhaps he has convinced himself that fracking will provide the answer to all of our nation’s energy needs. What Jack conveniently failed to mention is that as oil prices have crashed, so has the rig count. The number of active U.S. oil rigs has plunged 67 percent from its peak in 2014. Last week’s rig count was actually the lowest since May 2010, according to the oil field services firm Baker Hughes. If Jack spent time living in the real world, instead of his revisionist reality, he would find himself whistling past the graveyards of shuttered wells that have been abandoned in the bust that inevitably follows a temporary boom of an oil well. Continue reading

Bill Howell Wins New Holland Boomer 47

Bill Howell was the winner of the 2015 Growth Energy Individual Member Sweepstakes and took home a Boomer 47, a 47 hp tractor customized with Growth Energy racing decals. The contest was sponsored by New Holland and Growth Energy and Howell was presented with his Boomer 47 in Carroll, Iowa this week.

Bill and Katherine Howell take a seat in their new New Holland Boomer 47 as part of the 2015 Growth Energy Individual Member Sweepstakes. Photo Credit: Carroll Broadcasting Company.

Bill and Katherine Howell take a seat in their new New Holland Boomer 47 as part of the 2015 Growth Energy Individual Member Sweepstakes. Photo Credit: Carroll Broadcasting Company.

“We are proud to support farmers and those who choose to work the land and who work so hard every day to grow crops to help feed the world and fuel our nation,” said Growth Energy Co-Chair, Tom Buis. “Our members are working hard to revitalize our rural economies, create new jobs and ensure our nation will have a sustainable and secure energy future. This sweepstakes was part of a larger effort to continue to build grassroots support for biofuels across the country. Our growing grassroots advocates, such as Mr. Howell, help promote our industry and ensure that lawmakers in Washington understand the important role biofuels play in America’s heartland.”

Howell was presented with the Boomer 47 by Clay Haley with Haley Equipment who sells New Holland equipment, along with Scott Wangsgard and George Rigdon representing New Holland Agriculture.

“New Holland is proud to support Growth Energy in their individual membership growth initiatives and we look forward to continuing the partnership in 2016,” said Ron Shaffer, Director of Commercial Sales Regions and Network Development for New Holland North America. “We are also pleased to have the opportunity to provide Mr. Howell with the Boomer 47 and we hope he will find it to be a valuable asset to his operation.”

Ethanol Promo in Little Rock, AK This Week

Kum & Go and Growth Energy are partnering to bring $1.15 per gallon of E15 fuel to the residents of Greater Little Rock, Arkansas. The two-day promotion will take place from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on Wednesday, December 16 – Store 143 – 1303 South Pine Street, Cabot, AR; and Thursday, December 17 – Store 144 – 5216 JFK Blvd, North Little Rock, AR. During these promotions customers can fuel up with E15 for only $1.15 per gallon, as well as learn more about the benefits of this alternative fuel.

Kum & Go station in Des Moines offering E15. Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

Kum & Go station in Des Moines offering E15. Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

There are only 120 locations nationwide that offer E15, a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline. Since ethanol is cleaner and has a higher octane content than street-grade gasoline, E15 reduces the number of pollutants in fuel and produces less carbon emissions than regular gasoline. In addition, E15 is typically the less expensive option at the pump. E15 can be used in vehicles model year 2001 and newer, and in all flex-fuel vehicles.

“We’re happy to deliver a little something extra to our customers during the busy and expensive holiday season,” said Jim Pirolli, vice president Fuels, Kum & Go. “This is a great opportunity for our customers to learn more about the benefits of E15, while at the same time saving a bit of money.”

Over the next two years, Kum & Go plans to make E15 available at more than 65 stores across Iowa, Nebraska, Arkansas, Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma, and South Dakota. “As the leading coalition of U.S. ethanol supporters, Growth Energy is committed to accelerating the use of renewable fuel, increasing energy security, creating U.S. jobs and improving the environment through the use of alternative fuels,” added Retired General Wesley Clark, board member of Growth Energy.

Austin Dabney Joins Growth Energy

Austin DabneyAustin Dabney has become the newest addition to the Growth Energy team as the new communications assistant. In his role he will be responsible for monitoring media coverage of the biofuels industry, as well as increasing Growth Energy’s digital and social media presence on various platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Additionally, Dabney will provide support for the overall mission of the communications team and work closely with Growth Energy’s members.

“We are very pleased and excited to have Austin join the Growth Energy team,” said Growth Energy Co-Chair Tom Buis. “Austin brings a good deal of knowledge and enthusiasm, and we are excited for him to begin working with our members and contributing to the renewable fuel industry’s cause.”

Growth Energy Reacts Positively to #RFS Final Rules

Growth Energy reacted positively today after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the final Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) under the 2014, 2015 and 2015 Renewable Fuel Standard (#RFS). While the volumes were higher than in the proposed rules, on behalf of its members, Tom Buis, co-chairman, said that their members are pleased to see the #EPA moving the renewable fuels industry past the so-called ‘blend wall’.

growth-energy-logo1However, Buis said during a press call today that the EPA is still relying on flawed methodology that sets RVOs below the levels set by the legislation, “It is an important improvement from the proposed rule, and moves us closer to getting America’s most effective climate policy back on track and providing certainty for biofuels in the marketplace.”

“This final rule makes it possible to drive the growth of higher ethanol blends through the so-called blend wall, giving consumers choices at the pump, such as low-cost E15. Additionally, the numbers for 2016 represent a final rule closer to the statutory levels established by Congress, avoid the “reset” and indicate a more certain future for renewable fuels.

Buis continued, “However, we remain concerned that the final rule continues to rely on the “distribution waiver” that redefines supply as demand and was rejected by Congress when the RFS was enacted into law. Of particular concern is that by using such a waiver, the oil industry is being rewarded for its unwillingness to follow the law and invest in infrastructure to move toward cleaner, renewable fuel, which sets a dangerous precedent for the future of the program. The uncertainty this waiver will create risks sending investment in the next generation of renewable fuel overseas just as this new, homegrown industry is taking off.”

Jeff Broin, co-chairman of Growth Energy added during the press call, “In the future, we need to see a stronger and more consistent commitment to renewable fuel from Washington if we are ever going to realize the true potential of renewable fuels, including the development of cellulosic ethanol.”

Listen to the press call here: Growth Energy #RFS RVO Reaction Presser