The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is celebrating 30 years of advocating for the ethanol industry, and while the industry has come a long way since that time, some things never change.
Giving the “State of the Ethanol Industry” address to some 1300 attendees at the National Ethanol Conference, RFA president and CEO Bob Dinneen started off quoting the organization’s first president, Dave Hallberg, in 1981 that sounded like it could have been written today. “Dave went on to cite the inimitable comic strip character Pogo, “We are faced with insurmountable opportunities,” concluding with a familiar sense of optimism that they would be realized,” Dinneen said, adding that, “This industry can and will meet today’s challenges as it has met every ‘insurmountable opportunity’ of the past, and that we will, once again prevail.”
Dinneen addressed the pivotal changes facing the ethanol industry, starting with expiration of the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) at the end of this year and the potential for complete reform of federal ethanol policy. “Congress does appear ready to end the ethanol tax incentive program, however. At least, end it in its current form and cost. Our industry needs to work with Congress and the Administration to reform the tax incentive moving forward.”
“One way or another, change is coming to this industry,” Dinneen concluded. “We need to do what the RFA has done for 30 years – build bridges. We need to build a bridge wide enough for the entire biofuels industry to cross to a more sustainable energy future. We need to build a bridge to our customers and consumers so the road to increased ethanol use is paved with understanding. We need to build a bridge to lawmakers so that we end up with a motor fuel policy befitting a 21st century energy industry. And we need to stride confidently across this bridge with enough vision, strength and innovation to conquer the insurmountable opportunities of our time.”
Listen to or download Dinneen’s remarks here: Bob Dinneen - 2011State of the Ethanol Industry