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Grassroots Voice: An Update on Key Ethanol Issues
by Brian Jennings

Instead of penning a column with a single focus this month, I’d like to offer updates about several critical topics facing ethanol.

Corn farmers continue to amaze. USDA forecasts we’ll produce 13 billion bushels of corn this harvest. The yield increase alone from 2008 to 2009 will produce more than enough corn to satisfy the increased demand from ethanol.

More bipartisan support for blender pumps and FFVs is needed in Congress. Senators Harkin and Lugar have introduced S. 1627 to require more FFV production and to provide incentives for blender pumps. ACE believes this is critically important legislation, so please contact your Senators and ask them to co-sponsor S. 1627.

Speaking of blender pumps, you may know by now that ACE, RFA, and Corn Growers launched the “Blend Your Own” (BYO) campaign. Check out some of the campaign initiatives at byoethanol.com.

ACE had a great meeting with USDA officials last month and learned that the Administration wants to learn more from us about blender pumps and midlevel blends. We expect to do follow-up meetings with them to provide input on policies they can help implement for midlevel blend infrastructure.

Don’t expect EPA to correct its controversial International Land Use Change (ILUC) assumptions through RFS2 rulemaking. In case you missed it, EPA gave Tim Searchinger a seat on the RFS2 peer review panel – in other words, the guy who invented the theory of ILUC “peer-reviewed” his own idea for EPA.

As politics heat up in Congress, chances for Climate Change legislation melt down. Since ILUC probably won’t be corrected in the RFS2 rulemaking, biofuels still need a legislative remedy. Our initial plan was to either eliminate ILUC or require more scientific scrutiny on it (ala the Peterson amendment in the House) by amending the climate change bill, but climate change is now unlikely to pass in the U.S. Senate as healthcare reform is taking center stage. Senator Boxer might pass a climate bill out of her Environment Committee, but overall climate policy will be punted to either 2010 or 2011. At this stage it appears there will be a serious effort to adopt an energy bill in 2010, and this bill will be a good candidate for blender pumps, FFVs, and VEETC.

Other legislative vehicles to fix ILUC this fall include a potential scaled-down energy bill or appropriations bills, which are attractive in that they are considered “must-pass.”

Congratulations and best wishes. First, congratulations to Mike Jerke, the new General Manager for Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company. Second, best wishes to Bill Lee as he moves from CVEC to a new sector of renewable energy. Mike, Bill, and CVEC are all class acts.

 
© 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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