There are many key priorities for the ethanol industry right now and so I spent some time with Growth Energy’s CEO, Tom Buis to learn more about the political priorities the association is currently working on. Buis began by explaining that a lot depends on what actions Congress will take on the energy front. He mentioned that our country has recently come off the highest gas prices in 2008 the country has ever witnessed and that Congress has taken no steps to address this problem. “We feel they need to address the fuel issues,” said Buis.
There are many elements involved in addressing fuel issues and here are some of Growth Energy’s top priorities.
- 1) Our country needs to mandate flex-fuel vehicles and blender pumps at every gas station across the country.
- 2) On the market access side, they want to see an ethanol pipeline built. This will lower transportation costs, lower the industry’s carbon footprint and ultimately help consumers save more money at the pump.
- 3) The association would like to see some previous legislation re-visited specifically as part of the 2007 Energy Bill. First, they want to see indirect land use change removed. Second, they would like to see the corn discrimination clause reviewed. This clause states that under no circumstance can corn (or starch-based) ethanol, ever be considered an advanced fuel.
- 4) VETC, or the blender’s credit, is set to expire soon and Buis noted that they would like to see this extended for multiple years.
- 5) The ethanol tariff is under review. The sets a “fee” on ethanol imported from other countries that offsets the blender’s tax credit. It is designed, explained, Buis, to keep American’s from subsidizing foreign ethanol.
There are several more issues that the association is working on and you can learn about them by listening to the full interview with Tom, who is joined by Steve McNich, the CEO of Western Plains Energy in Oakley, Kansas.