November 14, 2011
Issue # 143
Caucus Heating up in Iowa
Candidates Speak at the National Association of Manufacturers Forum & the Republican Party of Iowa’s Ronald Reagan Dinner
With the caucus heating up, presidential candidates are increasingly coming to Iowa. At different events in Iowa they were recently asked questions dealing with ethanol and the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).
National Association of Manufacturers Forum
The National Association of Manufacturers held a forum in Pella on November 1. During the forum Governor Branstad asked the candidates several questions on renewable fuels and the RFS. The candidates that spoke about renewable fuels were Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Santorum. Ron Paul participated but did not mention renewable fuels.
Governor Branstad asked Governor Perry if he would support retaining the Renewable Fuels Standard, which has helped us reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Perry opposes the Renewable Fuels Standard and said, “I happen to believe the federal government needs to be completely out of the energy business picking winners and losers.” For video click here.
Governor Branstad asked Speaker Gingrich how the U.S. becomes energy independent and reduces the stranglehold the Middle East has on us. Gingrich responded, “I would like to see some kind of encouragement for every vehicle to have flex-fuel capabilities and every gas station to be a fuel station, not just a gas station.” For video click here.
Despite Governor Branstad asking if she supports the RFS, Representative Bachmann dodged that issue for the 3rd time in two weeks. For video click here.
Governor Branstad asked Senator Santorum how he feels about the RFS. His response was, “I support maintaining that…I’ll leave the renewable standard in place.” For video click here.
Republican Party of Iowa’s Ronald Reagan Dinner
During the reception at the Republican Party of Iowa’s Ronald Reagan Dinner, Iowans Fueled With Pride (IFWP) was able to pose questions to Gingrich, Santorum, Perry, and Ron Paul. The dinner took place on November 4 in Des Moines. Michele Bachmann was also in attendance, but her staff prevented IFWP from asking her a question.
Asked about the RFS, Former Speaker Newt Gingrich stated: “The Renewable Fuels Standards are vital for the United States.”
For video click here.
Gingrich also spoke about ethanol during his remarks to the dinner crowd, saying: “I believe if my choice is for money to Iran or go to Iowa, I pick Iowa.” For video click here.
Asked about his support for flex-fuel vehicles, Former Senator Rick Santorum stated: “That’s really the future from a national security perspective.” For video click here.
Texas Governor Rick Perry insisted his energy plan would create a “level playing field” despite being asked why it contains 18 policy recommendations for oil and gas, but none for renewable fuels. For video click here.
Congressman Ron Paul was asked if he would protect the Renewable Fuels Standard as President. His response was, “I would want the federal government to get out of it…and not interfere with the market.” For video click here.
In recent weeks several ethanol supporters have attempted to ask Rep. Bachmann whether or not she supports the RFS. Despite answering other questions and signing numerous autographs, for the 4th time in just a couple of weeks, Bachmann’s staff whisked her away when IFWP attempted to ask the RFS question.
For more videos of the candidates in their own words go to IFWP YouTube channel: Click here.
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Perry Energy Plan Does Not Match Perry Rhetoric
Former Gov. Rick Perry
IRFA President Walt Wendland issued a statement on former Governor Rick Perry’s recent energy remarks during the National Association of Manufacturers forum in Pella, Iowa. Following are some of Wendland’s comments:
“When you read Governor Perry’s energy plan, it does not match his rhetoric on the campaign trail. Despite some rhetorical flourishes that we may all agree on, the actual Perry energy plan leaves Iowa running on empty.”
Contradicting Governor Perry’s “all of the above” energy rhetoric, Wendland noted:
- He is the only candidate for the Republican nomination campaigning in Iowa that has not opposed an effort to ban E15.
- He made clear his opposition to the federal Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).
- He wants to get rid of all the tax credits at the end of 2011 for renewable fuels by letting them expire when they come up for renewal. However, Perry wants to phase out oil and gas subsidies over the next 20 years.
- Despite 18 supporting oil and gas, not a single policy recommendation is targeted to promote the production and use of renewable fuel.
Bloomberg News reported that Perry’s energy plan favors oil and gas producers. Read the Bloomberg story here.
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Like Campaign, Huntsman Energy Speech Ignores Iowa
IRFA President Walt Wendland issued a statement on former Governor Jon Huntsman's recent energy speech. Wendland made the following comments:
Former Gov. Jon Huntsman
“Former Governor Jon Huntsman is a serious man who is not afraid to tackle serious problems. But his energy plan, just like his campaign, pretends as if Iowa does not exist. One can’t help but wonder if Huntsman’s renewable fuels blind spot stems from his experience leading his family’s chemical company. Huntsman Chemical was once a large producer of MTBE, a gasoline component banned by many states after it polluted water supplies. Much to their dismay, MTBE was replaced in gasoline supplies by clean, renewable ethanol.
“Governor Huntsman apparently isn’t aware that ethanol is playing a major role as we ‘unshackle ourselves from the scourge of foreign oil.’ And ethanol will play a bigger role in the future. Governor Huntsman would do well to swing by Iowa and see the fields of possibility.”
ABC News also reported on Huntsman’s MTBE background and its potential impact on his views regarding ethanol. You can read the ABC story here.
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Registration Now Open for 2012 National Biodiesel Conference
Registration is open for the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo, to be held Feb. 5-8 in Orlando, Florida. Topics such as Governmental policy, technical issues and marketing trends in the biodiesel industry will be explored by biodiesel decision-makers from across the world. Click here to register now.
Iowans Fueled With Pride Releases “Ethanol and National Security” Brochure
Iowans Fueled with Pride (IFWP) recently released a brochure touting ethanol’s positive impact on national security. The brochure is a collection of statements from conservative and national security leaders explaining how America’s dependence on foreign oil funds terrorism and how ethanol is part of the solution.
“Every elected official should understand the vital role that ethanol is playing, and will continue to play, in reducing our dependence on foreign oil,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw. “As the national security experts in the brochure attest, foreign oil dependence is a serious threat to the U.S. And it deserves more than a bumper sticker policy response. IRFA is proud to help support Iowans Fueled with Pride as they seek to educate candidates and share the candidates’ positions with caucus voters.”
An electronic version of the brochure can be found here. Printed copies are available upon request.
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Record Biodiesel Production Continues in September
According to the most recent numbers released from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a U.S. record 119 million gallons of biomass-based diesel were sold during the month of September.
Biodiesel makes up the vast majority of the EPA's biomass-based diesel category under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program, with biodiesel representing 95% of the volume this year.
The September data marks the sixth consecutive monthly record for US biodiesel production and is an 8% increase over the previous high of 110 million gallons in August. Through September, biodiesel sales totaled 686 million gallons for 2011.
The RFS requires 800 million gallons of biomass-based diesel be blended with petroleum-based diesel in 2011 and calls for 1 billion gallons in 2012.
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A National Security Imperative to Reduce U.S. Oil Dependence
In 2006, CNA, a not-for-profit research and analysis organization, brought together 11 recently retired three and four-star generals and admirals to form a Military Advisory Board (MAB), with the goal of examining the national security implications of climate change. In this report, the MAB narrows in on one aspect of U.S. energy posture—our heavy reliance on oil, especially imported oil and calls for immediate and aggressive actions to move our transportation sector away from oil and toward alternative, domestically produced sources of energy in order to improve our national security posture.
- America’s dependence on oil constitutes a significant national security threat.
- A 30 percent reduction in our use of petroleum would significantly improve our national security.
- There are many promising alternatives to oil as a transport fuel—some available today, others on the horizon. If managed properly, all of the most promising alternative fuels examined can lower overall national security risks rather than continuing our overreliance on oil as a singular fuel source.
- To assure our national security, government must take action to promote the use of a more diverse mix of transportation fuels and to drive wider public acceptance of these alternatives.
- The U.S. must take swift and aggressive action to reduce our use of oil.
- The Department of Defense should continue to be a leader in advancing alternative tansportation fuels while balancing mission effectiveness and overall efficiency.
- DOD should be provided with the necessary authority to establish long-term alternative fuel contracts as a way to assure markets and lower the alternative fuel price.
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Supreme Court Denies RFS2 Challenge
The U.S. Supreme Court recently denied a petition from the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association and the American Petroleum Institute challenging the EPA's Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2). The National Biodiesel Board had joined the case as an intervenor in support of the EPA program. This decision effectively ends the case.
"The RFS program is working just as Congress intended. It's creating jobs across the country. It's breaking our addiction to oil. It's helping clean our air, and it's reducing greenhouse gases," said Anne Steckel, NBB's vice president of federal affairs. "This year alone, the biodiesel industry is on pace to produce at least 800 million gallons of advanced biofuel while supporting more than 31,000 jobs.
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IRFA Launches Facebook Page
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) recently announced the launch of its Facebook page. This new social media tool is part of an ongoing effort by IRFA to provide Iowans the most accessible and up-to-date news and information on renewable fuels. IRFA’s Facebook page will feature news, announcements, press releases, photos, and videos.
“The IRFA Facebook page gives our organization another effective outlet to communicate the positive impacts of renewable fuels on job creation, air quality, and national security,” said IRFA Biofuels Manager Grant Menke. “The Facebook page will improve our outreach, especially to younger consumers who demand instant information and value efficient, renewable products.”
Please visit IRFA’s Facebook page here and click the "like" button to receive updates on your recent story feed.
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The Airline Industry Starting to Use Biofuels
According to a recent National Public Radio story, a Continental flight from Houston to Chicago used a biofuel blend made in part from algae, and Alaska Airlines is set to fly passengers soon using a fuel made in part from cooking oil.
Alaska Air Group has focused on fuel efficiency in recent years to keep costs down and help the environment. "So the next kind of big thing on the horizon, because efficiency can only get us so far in terms of reducing our carbon footprint, is the biofuels arena," says Alaska Air Director of Government Relations Megan Lawrence.
She says the biofuel the airline will be using will provide a 10 percent reduction in carbon emissions compared with conventional jet fuel. The company has bought enough for 75 flights to Washington, D.C., and Portland, Ore., and she promises it won't pass any extra costs on to consumers.
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Amtrak says it has no "Beef" with Biodiesel-Powered Train
As reported by the
Chicago Tribune, Amtrak officials say they have no beef with using cattle-based biodiesel to power their Heartland Flyer train.
The railroad recently said that a mix of beef tallow and diesel fuel effectively powered the passenger train's 3,200-horsepower engine. Following a year-long test on the rails between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth, Texas, an evaluation found that the fuel blend met industry standards, engine wear was limited and emissions were below federal limits for the type of engine using it.
Roy Deitchman, Amtrak's vice president of environmental, health and safety, said the railroad was able to replace about 35,000 gallons of diesel with a locally produced renewable fuel during the test.
Previous tests found that engines running on a biodiesel mix had lower emissions, but further testing was needed to ensure its gaskets didn't wear prematurely with an animal-based product in the engine. Amtrak said the blend resulted in no more wear than usual and also showed less pollution.
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Hawaiian Electric Again Chooses Renewable Energy Group
Hawaiian Electric Company has again selected Renewable Energy Group® (REG), the nation’s largest biodiesel producer, to supply sustainable biodiesel for Hawaiian Electric’s 110-megawatt combustion turbine generator at Campbell Industrial Park Generating Station.
REG, which currently supplies biodiesel to the generating station, will continue to supply three to seven million gallons of high quality biodiesel annually for three additional years. Like the current supply contract, the biodiesel will be processed from used cooking oil and waste animal fats. The new contract was awarded as a result of a request for competitive bids issued in February 2011.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, more than 510 million gallons of foreign petroleum are burned each year for electric power generation. The state should be commended for its leadership in creating a model for other utility companies across the country to follow.
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IRFA Members Earn USDA Advanced Biofuel Payments
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced payments for 156 advanced biofuel producers across the country to support the production and expansion of advanced biofuels.
"This funding will help local producers increase the production and availability of renewable energy and thus help our nation begin to reduce its reliance on foreign oil," Vilsack said.
The funding is being provided through USDA's Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels. Under this program, payments are made to eligible producers to support and ensure an expanding production of advanced biofuels. Payments are based on the amount of biofuels a recipient produces from renewable biomass, other than corn kernel starch.
USDA highlighted IRFA member Western Dubuque Biodiesel in its press release, projecting that Western Dubuque Biodiesel’s award will help save 18 jobs.
USDA awarded payments to 156 local producers and business-owners, including the following IRFA members:
- Iowa Renewable Energy, LLC
- Renewable Energy Group, Inc.
- Western Dubuque Biodiesel, LLC
- Western Iowa Energy
- Ag Processing, Inc.
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Scholarship Opportunity for National Ethanol Conference
Now in its third year, the NEC Scholarship Program sponsored by the Renewable Fuels Foundation (RFF) and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) seeks to attract students of higher learning who wish to pursue a career related to ethanol. By offering scholarships that waive the conference registration fee, this program provides eligible students with opportunities to hear from and meet with top industry leaders, policy makers and academic and technical experts. The aim of this program is to reach aspiring ethanol advocates and open new doors and present new perspectives on biofuels’ place in our world today and beyond.
A total of six (6) scholarships will be provided to students in higher education to attend the 2012 National Ethanol Conference (NEC). Scholarships will cover the cost of the conference registration fee—a $775 value—making the conference free to the winners. Recipients will be responsible for all other costs associated with travel to/from the conference, including airfare, hotel and meals. Additional financial assistance to offset travel expenses may be available at the discretion of the RFF/RFA. Application deadline is December 23, 2011.
Click here to download the application.
Learn more about the National Ethanol Conference.
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