Ohio’s Renewable Fuels Industry Swings Back

Ohio’s renewable fuel industry announced the formation of a new coalition, Fuels America, to defend America’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which encourages the blending of Ohio-based ethanol into gasoline. Speaking out in support of the coalition are representatives of the Ohio Ethanol Producers Association, Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association and The Andersons Inc.

The Ohio groups are part of a large coalition of advanced and traditional renewable fuel stakeholders throughout the nation focused on demonstrating the economic, clean energy and national security benefits the RFS provides.

The launch of the coalition comes as the US Environmental Protection Agency considers a request to “waive” the RFS, a move that coalition members stressed would have serious unintended consequences for Ohio’s rural communities, clean tech innovators and energy independence.

“Our support for this coalition is based upon the truth that ethanol is vital to all of Ohio’s economy,” said Mark Borer, President of the Ohio Ethanol Producers Association. “It’s not just ethanol plants and the billion dollars of infrastructure we’ve invested in the state. Everyone – from the farmer down the street to the new local restaurant – benefits from the presence of our plants, and anyone who drives a car saves money at the pump.”

Members of the Fuels America coalition stressed that renewable fuel plays a central role in increasing America’s energy independence. Since 2000, domestically grown renewable fuel has contributed to a 25 percent reduction in oil imports from the Persian Gulf, making the nation more energy independent and driving down prices at the pump. Americans saved $50 billion on imported fuel costs in 2011 thanks to renewable fuel.

In addition to Ohio, the Fuels America campaign will be active in Washington, DC, and other states, including Colorado, Delaware and Montana. Each state will have its own online platform, featuring stories of renewable fuel innovators and communities with a stake in maintaining the RFS. The Ohio site can be accessed at www.FuelsAmerica.org/state/ohio.

The coalition will also mount advertising campaigns in the Colorado, Ohio and D.C. markets.

“The Renewable Fuel Standard has allowed Ohio to build some of the nation’s newest and most innovative ethanol plants, which have helped revitalize rural Ohio,” said Mike Irmen, Vice President of the Ethanol Group at The Andersons, Inc. “This campaign will go a long way in telling the public our positive and compelling Ohio success story.”

Speakers noted that renewable fuel has driven a $500 billion increase in America’s farm assets since 2007.

“The RFS has helped to open up the ethanol market creating new opportunities for Ohio’s grain farmers,” said Tadd Nicholson,  Executive Director of the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association. “More sons and daughters are returning to work on their family farms when in years past they might not have had that opportunity. Another generation of family grain farmers will persevere with help from the RFS.”

Additional Fuels America members include: 25×25, Abengoa Bioenergy, ACORE, Advanced Ethanol Council, American Coalition for Ethanol, American Security Project, BIO, DuPont, Growth Energy, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, National Sorghum Producers, Novozymes, POET, Renewable Fuel Association.

The campaign also launched a national digital platform at FuelsAmerica.org and on Twitter @FuelsAmerica.

Mark Borer, President of the Ohio Ethanol Producers Association, talks about the new coalition.
Tadd Nicholson, Executive Director of the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association, stresses how important ethanol production is to Ohio’s economy.
Mike Irmen, VP of the Ethanol Group with The Andersons, says he has seen the positive impact of Ethanol production in Ohio first hand at the Greenville, Ohio plant.

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