Iowans Show Passion for Renewable Fuels

Iowans were pleased to hear from Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds and Governor Terry Branstad during the 8th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit. The two focused their remarks on one very iIA Lt Gov Kim Reynolds at 2014 Iowa Renewable Fuels Summitmportant policy for Iowa: the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The legislation is under attack by Big Oil and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took a step back for the country when they released their proposed 2014 renewable fuel volumes for the RFS.

Reynolds noted that Midwesterners are passionate about the RFS. “From our farm fields to our Main Streets to our Legislative Chambers, Iowans understand how important it is to maintain a strong RFS,” said said.

There are tremendous benefits that currently flow from the RFS explained Reynolds, including: diversifying our nation’s energy portfolio and reducing our reliance on overseas oil; giving consumers lower cost choices at the fuel pump; and, raising family incomes and driving growth in rural America.

“We need to let people know that the ethanol industry supports more than 38,000 jobs and the biodiesel industry supports 62,000 jobs. We need to let people know that this one proposed rule by the EPA would directly jeopardize an estimated 37,400 ethanol jobs and 7,500 biodiesel industry jobs,” said Reynolds.

She stressed that the 2014 RFS proposal would place an unnecessary hardship on families throughout Iowa and throughout rural America. That one purposed rule would place an unnecessary hardship on families throughout rural America.

Listen to Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds remarks: Kim Reynolds Remarks

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad continued the call to continue the course of the RFS. He noted that in 2012, during the drought, corn prices were $8 a bushel, but now they are actually close to $4 a bushel. “The EPA’s proposed rule would result in corn prices below the cost of production and a reduction in agriculture land values. In addition, the misguided proposal would hurt farm equipment dealers, manufacturers and would cause significant loss of jobs throughout rural America.” Continue reading

EcoEngineer’s Jim Baker Wins Coveted FFV Mower

irfasummit-E85 John Deere riding mowerIf there was one item that was coveted above all others at the 8th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit, it was the E85, flex fuel riding lawn mower donated by John Deere. Attendees who submitted comments to the EPA were registered to win and people were jockeying for position to run up to the podium when their number was announced….and the winner is…Jim Baker with EcoEngineers who noted that he is going to have to buy a new house with a bigger yard to get the full value out of his new toy.

Jim was so excited he was hoping to drive it home but, well, it was a tad cold out. EcoEngineers, who is based in Des Moines, is a company specializing in biofuel compliance issues such as RIN management, plant registrations and more. EcoEngineers also hosts webinars for the industry as well as workshops. It is anticipated that when the weather gets warmers Jim will ride to work on his E85 John EcoEngineers Jim Bakers ticket to FFV John Deere mowerDeere riding mower and as a gal about town, I will be sure to get a photo and tweet it out.

Want to get a peek at this bad boy? Jim is taking applications for lawn mowing jobs. I suspect there will be a lot of people lining up to mow his lawn this summer.

Monte Shaw, the executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (Iowa RFA) who was the host of the event, said that he wanted to give special thanks to John Deere for their support of the event and the industry. John Deere has been selling agricultural equipment designed to use biodiesel for years.

Listen to my interview with Jim Baker here: EcoEngineer's Jim Baker Wins Coveted FFV Mower

View the 2014 Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit photo album.

Bob Dinneen: Consumers Want Choice at the Pump

Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association gave a legislative update during the 8th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit and spoke of the efforts of Big Oil to quash the renewable fuel industry. The Summit took place on the last day of the EPA comment period for the 2014 proposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and Dinneen told a funny story.

irfasummit-dinneen-14In December when the EPA hosted its public hearing, that lasted nearly 10 hours, the American Petroleum Institute (API) hired young kids to ride around in support of oil. However when Iowa Governor Terry Branstad gave his comments (he also gave an impassioned speech during the Summit) the kids hired by API cheered for renewable fuels. Needless to say, Dinneen noted that API was none too happy, but he said that shows that consumers do want the choice and they will choose renewable fuels like ethanol.

So I asked Bob why this fight is this happening. Why did the EPA go backwards on its 2014 RFS proposal?

“Well it’s happening because some bean counter in the Office of Management and Budget decided to take API’s talking points and accept them as fact,” answered Dinneen. “That somehow the rising price of renewable fuel credits (RINs) was going to drive up the price of gasoline. “Now there is no credible evidence to make that suggestion. Indeed if you were to plot the price of RINs versus the price of gasoline, there is actually a negative correlation suggesting that gasoline prices will be driven down by higher RIN prices.”

Dinneen noted that the EPA has become confused by the issue and hopes as the agency reviews all the comments will have a better understanding in RINs and what they were supposed to do – incentivize investment in E85 refueling infrastructure, allow E15 to be offered and provide consumer choice at a reasonable cost.

This fight is about access to the consumer, its about market share said Dinneen. API has been losing battles and is trying to re-litigate the RFS. Yet Dinneen said the RFS is doing everything it is supposed to do. He believes that at the end of the day, API will lose again.

This process will take several months. “I wish they would come to their senses sooner. The marketplace could certainly use the certainty that that would provide. But the reality is its going to take a while,” explained Dinneen.

I asked him what consumers should do after the comment period closes. “Consumers should recognize while farmers have a lot of stake here, they do as well,” answered Dinneen. “Because without ethanol, without the RFS, there price of gasoline goes up. So consumers should recognize they have as much at stake in all of this as the ethanol industry itself.”

Listen to my interview with Bob Dinneen here: Bob Dinneen: Consumers Want Choice at the Pump

View the 2014 Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit photo album.

EPA’s 2014 RFS Proposal Defies Statute

The Iowa Office of the Attorney General has reviewed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed 2014 Renewable Volume Obligations as part of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and concluded that the EPA must return to the forward course the legislation intended.

“It’s clear that Congress intended to establish the RFS to foster increased production of renewable fuels, and waiving the standard would contravene the intent of Congress,” said IA General Attorney Tom MillerIowa General Attorney Tom Miller during a press conference held during the 8th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit sponsored by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (Iowa RFA).

Miller writes in the letter to the EPA, “…the current proposal ignores the express terms of the statute and would contravene Congressional intent to foster increased production of renewable fuels.” Miller noted in the letter that according to the Clean Air Act, the EPA is authorized to waive the RFS only when implementation of the statutory standards would severely harm the economy or when there is an “inadequate domestic supply” – not distribution capacity – of renewable fuel, not blended fuel.

This is not the case, said Miller.

Renewable fuels are a critical part of Iowa’s economy according to Miller and provide a key market for agricultural crops and jobs. “If the EPA waived national fuel standards, not because of an inadequate supply of renewable fuel, but rather because of limited distribution capacity of blended fuels, it would be removing the incentives adopted by Congress to foster increased production of renewable fuels and greater energy independence,” concluded Miller.

Listen to press conference with IA General Attorney Tom Miller here: EPA's 2014 RFS Proposal Defies Statute

View the 2014 Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit photo album.

Biofuel Groups React to SOTU

Corn farmers and biofuels producers are questioning President Obama’s commitment to an “all of the above” energy strategy mentioned in the State of the Union address, considering the administration’s proposal to cut the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) this year. The address Tuesday evening came just hours before the comment period on the EPA proposal ended.

sotu-2014“It was great to hear President Obama talk about the importance of an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy policy,” commented National Corn Growers President Martin Barbre. “And you can’t have such a policy without biofuels. So, we call on his Administration to back away from its irresponsible proposal to reduce the Renewable Fuel Standard.”

Fuels America released a statement echoing a similar sentiment, adding that they hope EPA will listen to those who will be impacted by changes in the RFS. “We hope the agency considers the thousands of comments from farm families, small business owners, labor groups and environmental advocates. These are the real people who will lose their livelihoods and their faith in this Administration’s commitment to a clean energy future if the EPA proceeds down its current path.”

The president mentioned agriculture in the opening minute of his speech, with an image of a farmer in a corn field as an example of the “citizens, who make the state of our union strong.”

President Obama did make note of progress made in solar energy during his address and called for an end to tax breaks for the oil industry. “Every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar,” said the president. “Let’s continue that progress with a smarter tax policy that stops giving $4 billion a year to fossil fuel industries that don’t need it, so that we can invest more in fuels of the future that do.”

IRFA’s “Fuel the Future” Winners Announced

Jon Low 2014 IRFA Fuel the Future Grand Prize WinnerThe winners of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association’s (IRFA) 4th Annual “Fuel the Future” Video Contest were announced today during the 8th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit. The first place award and $1,000 went to John Low of Marion, Iowa. An 11th grader from Linn-Mar High School won for his highly entertaining, creative and informative video, “E15: The Fuel of the Future”. Low beat out 26 other entries.

Second place, and winner of a $600 prize, was awarded to Tyler Yates and Dalton Hart of Muscatine, Iowa for their video entitled, “Saving the Planet with Ethanol.” Tyler and Dalton are juniors at Muscatine High School.

IRFA 2014 Fuel the Future Video 3rd Place WinnersThird place, and winner of a $400 prize, was awarded to Megan Anderson, Trenton Bacus and Tyler Blaudow of Bussey, Iowa for their “Paul Harvey spoof” entitled, “The Farmer Made Biodiesel.” Anderson is a senior, while Bacus and Blaudow are juniors at Twin Cedars High School.

“Every year I’m amazed at how creative and informative these student-produced videos are,” said IRFA Communications Director T.J. Page. “The IRFA congratulates all of the ‘Fuel the Future’ winners, as well as each of the Iowa high school students who took on the challenge of entering this year’s contest.”

IRFA’s “Fuel the Future” video contest challenges Iowa high school students to create the best video highlighting the importance and benefits of renewable fuels—such as ethanol and biodiesel—to local communities, Iowa and the nation. This year’s contest was sponsored by the law firm of Faegre Baker Daniels LLP.

View the 2014 Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit photo album.

IRFA Attendees Roar in Support of Biofuels

More than 600 people turned out for the 8th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit including hundreds of consumers from around Iowa who wanted to learn more about renewable fuels. Speaking with Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (Iowa RFA), the largest state organization in the U.S. focused on biofuels, noted that there were some consumer driven panels on E15 and biodiesel. In addition, there was a panel featuring four cellulosic projects taking place in Iowa.

The morning focused on the legislative side of biofuels and Shaw noted that the conference landed on the last day of the EPA comment period for their 2014 proposed IRFA 2014 Summit Shawvolumes as part of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). During the show more than 250 people submitted comments to the EPA.

“We’re really optimistic that its going to be very difficult for the EPA to be able to ignore the wealth of information as well as the grassroots support for not messing with the RFS,” said Shaw.

Iowa is number one in ethanol production with about 13.8 billion gallons and number one in biodiesel production with 230 billion gallons. “So we have more at stake than any other state,” said Shaw, “so we have taken the responsibility very seriously to lead the charge.” Shaw said there is bipartisan support around the country for the RFS and he is concerned that a loss of the program could lead to another farm crisis.

I asked Shaw why consumers should care if there is less renewable fuel in our gas. He explained that in Iowa alone, a consumer saves at least 23 cents a gallon for ten percent ethanol (E10). “If you take ethanol out of gas, it’s more expensive,” said Shaw. “It’s just that simply. Even Washington DC, whose not very good with numbers, even they should be able to do that math.”

Shaw also stressed that this fight is not over. Consumers should still call President Obama and tell him they want biofuels. And IRFA will continue the fight as well.

Listen to my full interview with Monte Shaw here: IRFA Attendees Roar in Support of Biofuels

View the 2014 Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit photo album.

Gas Hole’s Impact on the Industry

nbb-14-gasholeWhen Jeremy Wagner and Scott Roberts made the movie Gas Hole a couple of years ago, they had no idea the impact it would have. During the recent 2014 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo the co-directors/producers presented to attendees, showed an extended excerpt from the movie and did a little Q & A.

Chuck caught up with the team and they shared how they decided a film about the oil industry was their goal and what research it took to accomplish such an endeavor.

Scott said the idea come to them “when the gas prices hit an all-time high. At the time I think it was only $3.25, it was unheard of at the time. We saw an article in a newspaper written by a gentlemen who remembered seeing a vehicle back in the 50′s that he was told got a 100 mph. What happened to that technology and why aren’t we using it?”

They knew they wanted to do a documentary together, but hadn’t decided on a topic. After this discovery they hunted down the man from the article and the rest is history.

“As we started to learn about the history of oil and what happened going back to standard oil. How that became a giant monopoly and then broken up and how it moved us into the 70′s and then we had the oil embargo. The story is so enormous and fascinating we kept running in to these things that you don’t really think about or know unless you have researched it,” Jeremy said. He continued by saying, “We started researching alternative fuels and seeing what was the most viable thing and we came across biodiesel and what was happening in that industry.”

The duo share that their message to viewers is to explain this concept that has been made very complex, when it shouldn’t be. Gas Hole presents the idea that the solutions to our oil dependency is relatively simple.

“We hope through the film we can open people’s eyes and make them think about things they have never thought about before and takeaway all the great things in history that have been accomplished. It took hard work and determination, we are a great country – we have great innovators. This is a perfect example being here at this conference and seeing the people that are doing just that.” added Scott.

If you are interested in purchasing Gas Hole, visit GasHoleMovie.com. It is also available on iTunes, Netflix, Amazon and basically all the major outlets.

You can listen to Chuck’s complete interview with Jeremy & Scott here: Interview with Jeremy Wagner & Scott Roberts

2014 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Informa Study Shows E85, E15 Can Achieve RFS

According to a new study by Informa Economics, “Analysis of the Potential Use of Biofuels toward the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2014, shows intended Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) 2014 blending requirements as outlined by statute can be reached through expanded consumption of E85, E15 and carryover of RIN credits (Renewable Identification Numbers). According to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), the study “clearly demonstrates why the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to reduce RFS blending requirements is unnecessary and imprudent”.

Using empirical data from 2013, the study finds that E85 sales volumes respond strongly to changes in RIN prices. The authors say this demonstrates the RFS program is working exactly as intended to drive expanded consumption of biofuels above the so-called E10 “blend wall.” The study finds, “It is possible for all statutory components and allocations within the Renewable Fuel Standard to be met in 2014, after adjustments have been made for a waiver of a large majority of the Cellulosic Biofuel Standard.”

The study takes a closer look at likely consumption, finding that ethanol consumption in 2014 could be at least 13.7 billion gallons, comFreedom Fuel ethanol blender pumppared to the EPA’s assumption of 13.0 billion gallons. It points toward E85 as a major contributor, “E85 accounts for most of the potential for expanded consumption….The increase could be even larger if E85 is priced at a sustained discount to gasoline (on an energy-equivalent basis), as the consumer response could be stronger than implied by historical data, since discounts have been transitory in the past.”

Bob Dinneen, RFA president and CEO said of the report, “This study is further proof that the so-called ‘blend wall’ can be easily scaled if the RFS is allowed to work as intended. As I have said time and time again, the RIN mechanism is the tool to drive innovation and infrastructure to accommodate higher ethanol blends like E85 and E15. There is absolutely no need to reduce or repeal the RFS. It is working.”

Roger Zylstra, a farmer from central Iowa and current president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association added, “We hope that this study further emphasizes that the EPA decision to lower the RVO just doesn’t make sense. As a corn grower, I know we have the science and the production to back up the current RFS. It is working and we need to move forward, not backward on our energy security.”

The Informa analysis was commissioned by RFA and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board.

Rethinking Biofuel Yields

According to new research from Michigan State University (MSU), focusing solely on biomass yield comes at a high price. Looking at the big picture allows other biofuel crops, such as perennial grasses to score higher than corn, as viable alternatives for biofuel production. The research was published in the recent issue of Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences.

GLBRC / KBS LTER cellulosic biofuels research experiment; Photo“We believe our findings have major implications for bioenergy research and policy,” said Doug Landis, MSU entomologist and one of the paper’s lead authors. “Biomass yield is obviously a key goal, but it appears to come at the expense of many other environmental benefits that society may desire from rural landscapes.”

Landis and a team of researchers from the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center compared three potential biofuel crops: corn, switchgrass, and mixes of native prairie grasses and flowering plants. They measured the diversity of plants, pest and beneficial insects, birds and microbes that consume methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Methane consumption, pest suppression, pollination and bird populations were higher in perennial grasslands.

In addition, the team found that the grass crops’ ability to harbor such increased biodiversity is strongly linked to the fields’ location relative to other habitats. For example, pest suppression, which is already higher in perennial grass crops, increased by an additional 30 percent when fields were located near other perennial grass habitats.

This suggests, says Landis, that in order to enhance pest suppression and other critical ecosystem services, coordinated land use should play a key role in agricultural policy and planning. “With supportive policies, we envision the ability to design agricultural landscapes to maximize multiple benefits.”

Landis points out that rising corn and other commodity prices tempt farmers to till and plant as much of their available land as possible. This includes farming marginal lands that produce lower yields as well as converting acreage set aside for the Conservation Reserve Program, grasslands and wetlands.

“Yes, corn prices are currently attractive to farmers, but with the exception of biomass yield, all other services were greater in the perennial grass crops,” Landis said. “If high commodity prices continue to drive conversion of these marginal lands to annual crop production, it will reduce the flexibility we have in the future to promote other critical services like pollination, pest suppression and reduction of greenhouse gasses.”

E15 Now Available in Ohio

Consumers in Ohio can now choose E15 at the pump. American Freedom Energy has become the first retailer in the state to offer the fuel blend to drivers with 2001 or newer vehicles. The station is located at S 430 St. Route 109, Liberty Center, Ohio 43532.

“Being a leader and not a follower, we believe in consumer choice,” said Glenn Badenhop, President and CEO of American Freedom Energy. “Offering higher ethanol blends like E15 fuel pumps Growth 003sets us apart from other stations, but also helps our local economies, helps the environment, and helps reduce our addiction to foreign oil. Alternative fuels are the future.”

Along with E15 for 2001 and newer vehicles American Freedom Energy will offer E85, E40, E30, and E20 for Flex Fuel vehicles (FFVs) at their Liberty Center station. In doing so, American Freedom Energy also joins more than 3,000 retailers throughout the nation who have the infrastructure available to provide motorists with a choice of various ethanol blends. There are currently 14 states that offer E15.

Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis added, “Seeing retail leaders like Freedom Energy, MAPCO Express, Murphy Oil and Minnoco offering E15 continues to validate that there is a viable market for the new fuel. When given the choice, consumers will seek the fuel that costs less, improves the performance of their vehicles and is better for our environment. The increase in E15 availability is quite impressive.”

Why Mess with Success?

On the same day as the “Hearing in the Heartland” event took place in Des Moines, Iowa to gather comments to submit to the EPA regarding their 2014 proposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) rules, Americans United for Change launched its next in a series of TV ads asking rural Americans to join the thousands of citizens around the country who have spoken out on the RFS.

The ad called “Why Mess With Success,” began airing yesterday in Washington DC, Cedar Rapids, IA, and the Quad Cities. The ad makes the closing argument that the RFS has been invaluable for rural economies the last decade, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions in new wealth while saving consumers millions at the pump. Which is why it makes no sense to change course so drastically by gutting the RFS.

Brad Woodhouse, President, Americans United for Changes said of the ad campaign and the RFS, “It’s an open secret that Big Oil has spent millions of dollars trying to put out of business their 70 cent cheaper and cleaner renewable fuels competition. If Washington does what Big Oil wants and strips apart the Renewable Fuel Standard, it’ll be a case study in fixing what isn’t broke that would make the inventors of New Coke blush. While the U.S. economy has been on a wild ride the last decade, rural communities that seized opportunities in the renewable fuels industry have seen nothing but growth, new jobs, new wealth, and more reasons for their children to stay.”

“That’s why the choice before the EPA should be an easy one: either continue to go forward creating thousands of jobs that can’t be outsourced and revitalizing rural economies, or backward,” continued Woodhouse. “Either continue going forward weaning the nation off its addiction to overseas oil, or backwards. Continue making innovations in next generation renewable fuel sources that will build on its success of meeting 10 percent of the nation’s fuel needs, or discourage it. Continue going forward in cutting down carbon emissions harmful to the environment, or backwards and watch as already common oil-industry related disasters become even more routine. Continue giving consumers cheaper alternatives at the pump, or take them away.”

“At this 11th hour, it is critical that the millions of Americans who have benefited from the RFS — from farmers to businesses that serve ethanol industry workers, to consumers – to tell the EPA what’s at stake for them if Big Oil’s bottom line is put ahead of rural America. If you ask the taxpayers, Big Oil gets enough special treatment from Washington already – they don’t need another giveaway,” concluded Woodhouse.

Growth Energy Praises Sentate Letter to EPA

As the date quickly approaches for comments to be submitted to the EPA in response to their proposed 2014 Renewable Fuels Standard Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO), last minute comments are flooding in to the EPA. It is estimated that more than 12,000 comments have already been submitted regarding the proposed rule.

Today, a bipartisan letter, led by Senators Durbin (D-Ill.), Grassley (R-Iowa), Franken (D-Minn.) and Thune (R-S.D.) was submitted to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy calling for changes to their 2014 proposed rule.

The letter, according to Growth Energy, reiterates their associations position that this reduction in RVOs is a misguided policy.

“The leadership by these senators, and by a bipartisan group of representatives in a letter last week, again demonstrates EPA’s proposed rule is flawed and contrary to the Growth_Energy_logo-1goals of the RFS,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. “The EPA should move forward on biofuel policy, not backwards. EPA’s misguided proposal would increase our dependence on foreign oil, drive-up the cost for consumers at the pump, restrict consumer choice and threaten the nearly 400,000 jobs of those who work every day to develop a cleaner, American-made fuel.”

The letter was signed by Senators Markey (D-Mass.), Baldwin (D-Wis.), Baucus (D-Mont.), Blunt (R-Mo.), Brown (D-Ohio), Cantwell (D-Wash.), Coats (R-Ind.), Donnelly (D-Ind.), Durbin (D-Ill.), Fischer (R-Neb.), Franken (D-Minn.), Grassley (R-Iowa), Harkin (R-Iowa), Heinrich (D-N.M.), Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Hirono (D-Hawaii), Hoeven (R-N.D.), Johanns (R-Neb.), Kirk (R-Ill.), Klobuchar (D-Minn.), McCaskill (D-Mo.), Murray (D-Wash.), Reed (D-R.I.), Schatz (D-Hawaii), Shaheen (D-N.H.), Stabenow (D-Mich.), Thune (R-S.D.), Udall (D-N.M.) and Bennet (D-Colo.).

Obama, EPA Needs to Listen to Midwesterners

Hundreds of people from the Midwest turned out to submit comments today to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at the “Hearing in the Heartland: Supporting the Renewable Fuel Standard” hosted by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds.

The EPA held only one public hearing in Washington, D.C. last year in response to their 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard – a proposed policy that lowers the use of biofuels; rather IA Gov Branstad at Hearing in the Heartland Jan 23 2013than increases the use of biofuels as intended by the policy. Branstad noted that when he was testifying in DC with the Iowa delegation, they met with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and requested a public hearing in the Midwest and were denied.

Not to be deterred, Branstad rallied several other Midwestern Secretaries of Agriculture to hold their own hearing and people from throughout the Midwest including Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota traveled on one of the coldest days of the new year to tell their stories of the benefits of biofuels.

“I’ve been a relentless supporter of biofuels dating back to the 1970s, when we called it “gasahol,” said Gov. Branstad to the audience. “It’s truly incredible to see how the industry has grown and provided diverse benefits to agriculture and created thousands of quality jobs across America.”

“With a state that has over 92,000 farmers, dozens of thriving international agri-business companies, and a large variety of bio-science leaders, it’s easy to see that the growth is a result of the hard work and innovation of our farmers and the technology advancements in the use of corn, soybeans and other biomass products.”

Branstad noted the many benefits of biofuels including: diversifying our nation’s energy portfolio and reducing our dependence on foreign oil; reducing air pollution; giving consumers choices at the pump; and helping grow family incomes in rural America. He stressed that EPA’s proposal on the RFS would have devastating effects on this growth ad on job creation and he, along with many other bi-partisan Midwest leaders have voiced opposition.

You can listen to Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s full remarks here:Obama, EPA Needs to Listen to Midwesterners Continue reading

GRFA: Biofuels Must Be a Priority

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week is kicking off and this week the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) called on attendees to make increasing global biofuels use a top priority. During the week, global leaders will address the energy and sustainability challenges of the future. In addition, the World Future Energy Summit is also taking place.

“Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and it’s complement of events is the ideal setting for Abu Dhabi Sustainability Weekattendees to endorse expanding biofuels strategies because they create much needed rural jobs, significantly curb green house gas emissions and reduce our reliance on crude oil,” said Bliss Baker, spokesperson for the GRFA.

Baker continued, “Attendees of the IRENA Renewable Energy Jobs Conference must endorse expanding the global biofuels industry because it is a bright spot in the world economy, contributing billions of dollars to output and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs now and in the future.”

According to the GRFA, global biofuels production today is making a significant contribution to the global economy, having contributed $277.3 billion and supported nearly 1.4 million jobs in all sectors of the global economy in 2010. By 2020 the global biofuel industry is forecasted to grow to support over 2.2 million jobs in all sectors of the global economy.

“Attendees of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and the IRENA Meeting also need to recognize that biofuels are the only real feasible option available to reduce emissions in the transportation sector immediately,” said Baker.

In 2013, the International Energy Agency’s Tracking Clean Energy Progress report stated that biofuels will have to play an increased role in order to reduce Green House Gases (GHG) as part of their Climate Change Scenario by 2020. According to the GRFA, in 2013, an estimated 85 billion litres of ethanol were produced which is estimated to have reduced GHG emissions by over 100 million tonnes, the equivalent of removing 20 million cars off the road.

“How can we not expand the global biofuels industry? Last year’s global ethanol production alone reduced GHG emissions equal to removing all the cars registered in Portugal and the Netherlands from the road,” added Baker.

He concluded, “It’s clear, that with all the positive economic and environmental benefits of biofuels, attendees of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week’s events must commit to globally increasing biofuels use so they have a greater share of the future global energy mix,” concluded Baker.