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Grassroots Voice: "Biofuels are here today to help address weighty issues"
by Brian Jennings

Now is a critical time in our nation’s history, a time when weighty issues such as the strength of our economy, the health of the environment, and the source and cost of our energy supplies need swift and sensible solutions.

While there are no silver-bullet solutions to these challenges, there is one way to squarely address each of them – ensuring a strong domestic biofuels industry today that paves the way for growth tomorrow. Ethanol can affect positive change on the front line of advancing clean energy while providing some sorely needed good news on the nation’s economic balance sheet.

After the record oil prices of 2008, today’s lower prices are a welcome relief. But don’t confuse cheaper oil with energy independence. A less painful price sign at the pump can give a false sense of security, diminishing our drive for developing alternative fuels like ethanol. Complacency is the most dangerous response we can have to lower oil prices. And it is exactly the response that our foreign oil suppliers want us to have. While ethanol is becoming even cleaner as new technologies advance, the opposite is true for oil, which is becoming dirtier as new sources like the tar sands are tapped.

Congress must work with determination to shake off the burden of foreign oil dependence once and for all. We can do this by taking action now to approve the E15 waiver, lifting the regulatory cap that prevents more than 10 percent ethanol from being blended in to a gallon of gasoline, which will expand our domestic industry and displace larger amounts of foreign oil. We must recognize ethanol’s benefit for our environment and ensure that it plays its rightful role in applicable legislation.

In addition to its ability to address the twin challenges of the environment and energy security, ethanol means business for our economy. The producers of corn ethanol have brought great benefits to their communities, adding value to local agriculture, creating jobs, and boosting the tax base. We must support the success of corn-based ethanol today, because without it, there will be no cellulosic ethanol production tomorrow. If we carry on the national commitment to biofuels, the next chapter in the story will unfold as cellulosic ethanol is produced, bringing ethanol production’s economic benefits to all regions of the country.

Today, in the most crucial of times, I challenge Congress to redouble the nation’s commitment to homegrown ethanol. Our economy, environment, and energy security will reap the rewards for years to come.

© American Coalition for Ethanol, all rights reserved.
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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