The National Corn Growers Association, the Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy and the American Coalition for Ethanol were concerned over the direction taken by Thursday's Policy Forum on Corn Ethanol Policy in the 112th Congress. The groups believe - any energy policy forum must include comprehensive and adult conversations about America's entire energy agenda, including subsidies and other supportive policies for mature and aging technologies like petroleum. Unfortunately, it is unlikely this 'forum' will include any of those discussions.
In their joint statement the groups say this is yet another example of defenders of the status quo wasting the time of Congress focusing on bogus claims against the ethanol industry instead of finding solutions to the real problems. The statement continues, anyone who has filled a gas tank the last few months has unwittingly witnessed the prime cause of soaring prices for all consumer goods, especially food. How anyone can point fingers at farmers for driving up food prices when they receive less than 12 cents of every food dollar defies common sense.
Prior to the Senate hearing on renewable fuels, National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson said that investing in renewable fuels has never been more critical to help our country transition from imported fossil fuels to a cleaner environment, less dependence on unstable foreign energy sources, and consumer choice.
Johnson noted that the agriculture sector continues to play a very important role in helping to achieve these goals, and ethanol produced from our farm fields has a real, measurable impact. Over the last five years, the U.S. has reduced oil imports from 450 million barrels of oil per month to 340 million barrels per month. That is a 24% decline in oil imports due in significant part to increased production of ethanol.
"Critics who make the argument that ethanol has driven food prices are wrong," Johnson said. "USDA and the Congressional Budget Office have found that biofuels had a minimal impact on food prices during the 2008 food crisis. NFU encourages the committee to consider the contributions that ethanol continues to make toward a more sustainable and secure future for our country."
Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis thanked the Environment and Public Works Committee for holding the hearing.
"The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee had an opportunity with this hearing to shed some light on fallacies that have been paraded as fact by special interests seeking to protect their profits over the interests of the American public," said Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis. "The U.S. ethanol industry is one of the most innovative in the country leading development of new technologies to reduce energy and water use, extract more energy from the grain and reduce harmful emissions. American ethanol is a sustainable, home-grown fuel that decreases the demand for foreign oil, strengthens our national security and keeps prices lower both at the grocery store and the filling station."
Buis has sent a letter to Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Ranking Member James Inhofe, R-Okla., to clarify points concerning the tax credit, clean air standards and questions that were not raised in the hearing. To read that letter, click on the link below.