USDA Applauded for Biofuel Infrastructure Support

Joanna Schroeder

Photo Credit Joanna Schroeder

Photo Credit Joanna Schroeder

This morning, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Secretary Tom Vilsack made the announcement that 21 states will receive grants through the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) to help provide access to more renewable fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. In response, the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) applauded USDA for expanding its efforts to provide consumers with fuel choice at the pump through expanded ethanol blends. The program will help retail station owners pay for equipment they may need to offer higher ethanol blends such as E85.

“Secretary Vilsack has worked tirelessly to see that his vision of 10,000 blender pumps across the nation becomes reality, and the Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership is another great example of his commitment to expanding markets for farmers’ products,” said ACE Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty whose organization works with retailers and provide assistance through their FlexFuelForward website.

“BIP is a matching grant program, which means USDA also challenged states and ethanol supporters to step up and make equal or greater amounts of infrastructure funding available to station owners. The intended result is nearly a quarter of a billion dollars petroleum marketers can use to buy equipment and offer more ethanol blends to consumers. In many cases, station owners will pay little or nothing to add state-of-the-art blender dispensers and other equipment they may need to sell flex fuels and E15. We encourage retailers to apply for funding assistance through the appropriate state agencies,” Lamberty added.

Growth Energy also praised the USDA with CEO Tom Buis noting that the announcement is a “tremendous win” for American consumers. “It is unfortunate that the obligated parties refuse to follow the law and blend increasing amounts of renewable fuel,” said Buis, “but the steps by the administration and Secretary Vilsack will ensure higher ethanol blends, such as E15, penetrate the marketplace, and provide consumers with a choice and savings they deserve.”

Prime the Pump is an ethanol industry campaign that also assists retailers with adding higher ethanol blend infrastructure. Ray Defenbaugh, Chairman of Prime the Pump, added, “On behalf of the Prime the Pump Fund, which exists to assist forward-thinking fuel retailers who wish to offer their customers higher blends of ethanol such as E15, we applaud the Department of Agriculture and Secretary Vilsack for their vision with the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership Grant Program. This assistance in building out retail infrastructure is not only good for the American farmer but it is also great for the American motorist who will now have more opportunities to buy higher octane fuel at a lower cost. The renewable fuels industry has grown to 10 percent of the fuel supply, and giving motorists the opportunity to buy more cleaner, greener, American-made, renewable fuels reduces our need for foreign oil, creates jobs and makes our air cleaner.”

Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFS), also weighed in. “The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should take a lesson from today’s announcement by USDA. While the EPA is thwarting investment in private sector infrastructure by proposing to significantly slash the 2014–2016 biofuel volume obligations contained in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), USDA understands what is necessary to assure consumer access and move our nation’s biofuels industry forward. RFA joins consumers across the country in applauding USDA today for its efforts to encourage a choice of high-octane, low-cost, domestically produced fuel at the pump.”

ACE, biofuels, E15, E85, Ethanol, Growth Energy, RFA