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Grassroots Voice: "The Revolution that is Ethanol"
by Brian Jennings

“If you are going through hell… keep going.”

This is one of my favorite Winston Churchill quotes, and what a fitting way to describe the determination and vision of the revolutionaries who’ve formed and continue to drive the U.S. ethanol industry.

This is an industry of underdogs. A grassroots coalition of farmers and ranchers, entrepreneurs and investors, ethanol producers and industry vendors, who, despite being outspent, overlooked, and relentlessly attacked, keep going – and keep winning.

Yes, I said winning. The negative headlines orchestrated by those who don’t support ethanol are not going away, and that is a frustrating reality. We are being attacked. But we need to have the sophistication and judgment to understand that we’re being attacked today not because we’re trailing, but because we are winning.

One only has to look at the new Renewable Fuels Standard to understand why those who support the status quo are so threatened. The oil companies are now obligated by the law of the land to, in the coming years, hand over a full 25 percent of their marketshare to ethanol. Think of how truly revolutionary this is. Has an industry ever before been able to persuade the federal government to force its competitor to sacrifice a significant portion of its market?

I like an analogy that ACE’s Ron Lamberty often uses. Think about what Coca-Cola would do if the government required them to blend even a small amount of Pepsi in to each can or bottle. Coca-Cola would fight like hell to prevent this from happening, and it would do anything in its power to find reasons for the policy to unravel.

So Big Oil is fighting back, and they’ve been joined by Big Food which desperately wants to keep the cheap corn they feel they’re entitled to forever. Their attacks are well-funded, and they generated some negative headlines that were too often more sensational than true. But the truth will prevail, as it did when the EPA denied the Texas Governor’s RFS waiver request last month.

Our revolution is to make gasoline the alternative fuel, and we are gaining ground. The attacks we’re weathering are proof of our success. ACE is indebted to all of the grassroots ethanol supporters who have brought the industry to where it is today. We have been extremely successful, but our work has only just begun. Going forward from here is going to require a sharp, unified, grassroots effort. Be ready.

 
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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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