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Grassroots Voice: Advocates Speak Persuasively in Support of the Tax Credit
by Brian Jennings

Every industry trade group in the U.S. has lobbyists – there’s nothing particularly special about having one or several of them. Members of Congress are more convinced by real people telling real stories.

And that’s something that makes the American Coalition for Ethanol unique and effective. To complement the work of our lobbying team we have thousands of grassroots members – real people – who are willing to take the time to let their Members of Congress know why ethanol is important to them – real stories.

As one part of our advocacy and legislative strategic plan, ACE recently sponsored our annual “fly-in” where some of our members traveled to Washington, DC to personally lobby Members of Congress on timely ethanol industry issues. Our members focused on two key priorities during more than 60 visits to House and Senate offices:

· Support for HR 4940, bipartisan legislation in the U.S. House to extend VEETC (i.e. the blender’s credit), the secondary tariff, and small ethanol producer tax credit.

· Support for S. 1627, bipartisan legislation in the U.S. Senate to provide meaningful consumer fuel choices through more FFVs and blender pumps.

The timing was perfect for ACE’s fly-in because when we were in DC, Representatives Pomeroy (D-ND) and Shimkus (R-IL) decided to introduce HR 4940, the tax credit bill. This enabled ACE’s fly-in foot soldiers to convince nearly 30 Members of Congress to co-sponsor this bill while we were there. The ACE members should be very proud that their trip resulted in such a significant and concrete accomplishment.

Veteran ACE members such as Gene and Kathy Griffith of Patriot Renewable Fuels in Illinois and Rich Wiarda of Glacial Lakes Energy in South Dakota teamed up with some new faces at this year’s fly in, people such as Jerry Calease of Golden Grain Energy, Bill Couser of Lincolnway Energy, and Chris Schwarck of Absolute Energy, all of Iowa.

We were also proud to host Ron Fagen, whose company has built most of the ethanol plants in the U.S., on our fly-in. Ron commented to me that he had never participated in a fly-in before and loved every minute of the ACE event. Thanks so much to Ron and all the others who invested the time and energy to take part in the fly-in.

A registered lobbyist can tell a Member of Congress that ethanol creates jobs and that VEETC needs to be extended, but when someone like Ron Fagen or Bill Couser makes that case, Members of Congress listen.

ACE is honored to have so many real people willing to persuasively tell real stories in support of ethanol.

 
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The American Coalition for Ethanol publishes Ethanol Today magazine each month to cover the biofuels industryís hot topics, including cellulosic ethanol, E85, corn ethanol, food versus fuel, ethanolís carbon footprint, E10, E15, and mid-range ethanol blends.
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