November 28, 2011
Issue # 144
IRFA Calls On Gov. Perry to Reconsider 20 More Years of Oil Subsidies
Perry Energy Plan Puts Oil in “Most Favored” Position
Prior to presidential candidate Rick Perry's recent campaign stops in Iowa, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) called upon the Texas governor to reconsider his plan for energy tax incentives. After the IRFA pointed out that Perry’s energy plan would end ethanol tax credits in less than two months, but allow oil tax subsidies to continue indefinitely, a Perry spokeswoman told Bloomberg News that Perry "would work with Congress to phase" out oil subsidies "over the next 20 years."
“How in the world does Governor Perry justify 20 more years of tax subsidies for oil companies?” asked IRFA President Walt Wendland. “The renewable tax credits cease at the end of this year. But despite that some of the oil subsidies go back 100 years, now we’re told that Perry wants to give oil companies another 20 years of subsidies. Given this extreme position, Perry’s talk about not picking winners and losers and having a level playing field is simply hollow rhetoric.”
IRFA has pointed out that Governor Perry’s energy plan favors oil in several ways. In addition to favoring unfair tax benefits for oil, Gov. Perry:
- Opposes the federal Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) but his energy plan would leave intact the “federal petroleum mandate” – mandating that over 95 percent of vehicles on the road be filled with a fuel that is a minimum of 85 percent petroleum.
- Is the only candidate for the Republican nomination campaigning in Iowa that has not opposed an effort by Texas Congressmen to ban E15 (15% ethanol blends), a domestic alternative to foreign oil.
- Proposed 18 specific policy recommendations in his energy plan to promote the production and use of oil and natural gas, but not a single policy recommendation to promote the production and use of renewable fuels.
“Governor Perry’s energy plan puts domestic, renewable fuels at a severe disadvantage to oil, even imported oil,” concluded Wendland. “The Perry energy plan is not good for Iowa’s economy or America’s security.”
Wendland concluded: “When Perry’s energy plan ends renewable tax credits in six weeks, but supposedly phases oil subsidies out over 20 years, Iowans have the right to say that this is not a level playing field. First, Gov. Perry needs to clarify his conflicting statements. But more importantly, Gov. Perry needs to modify his energy plan so that it no longer puts domestic, alternative fuels at a disadvantage. That is not acceptable and we will keep pushing to have it addressed.”
Perry Energy Tax Credit Timeline:
October 14: Perry unveils energy plan that calls for ending renewable tax credits on December 31, 2011. IRFA issues statement pointing out that the Perry energy plan leaves oil tax subsidies open-ended. Click here
November 7: Perry campaign tells Bloomberg News that Perry would work with Congress to phase out oil subsidies “over the next 20 years.” Click here
November 14: IRFA calls upon Perry to reconsider giving oil 20 more years of subsidies while denying tax credits to renewable fuels. Click here
November 16: In an interview with Radio Iowa, Perry contradicts the Bloomberg News article, saying he has no “hard” deadline for repealing energy subsidies. Then contradicting his own energy plan, Perry also said he had no “hard date” in mind to end renewable tax credits and that they should be “phased out over a reasonable period of time.” Click here
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IRFA Calls On Rep. Bachmann to Tell Iowans Where She Stands on Renewable Fuels Standard
Presidential Candidate Has Dodged Issue of Great Importance to Iowans
With presidential candidate Michele Bachmann traveling throughout Iowa, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) recently called upon the Minnesota Representative to tell Iowans where she stands on the federal Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), an issue important to the quarter of a million Iowans who rely on Iowa’s agricultural economy.
In a letter to Rep. Bachmann, IRFA President Walt Wendland wrote: “As a neighboring Minnesotan who was born in Iowa, you know the large, positive impact renewable fuels have had on rural economies, farm income, and US energy security. That is why IRFA has been disappointed to be unable to get an answer to a question central to the future of renewable fuels and rural economic growth. IRFA would simply like to know: as president, would you support and protect the federal renewable fuels standard?”
Bachmann has been asked her position on the RFS at least four times in the past few weeks, but each time she either refuses to answer or her staff intervenes to whisk her away. Bachmann has been asked about the RFS by an ethanol supporter, an ethanol plant CEO, the IRFA executive director and even Iowa Governor Terry Branstad. The encounters, all on videotape, can be viewed at www.youtube.com/user/iowafuel.
Wendland continued: “Campaigning for president in Iowa is about more than signing autographs and answering the easy questions. Iowans expect clear answers on the important issues of the day and the RFS is an important issue to thousands of Iowans…In order to unlock the many benefits of renewable fuels, federal policy must stop putting new fuels at a disadvantage to the entrenched oil interests content on keeping the U.S. dependent on oil from countries that, at best, don’t like us and, at worst, are funding terrorist attacks against us. That was why President George W. Bush signed the renewable fuels standard into law. That is why the RFS has been supported by officials from the Reagan and Bush White Houses.”
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IRFA Announces 2nd Annual Renewable Fuels Video Contest for Iowa High School Students
$2,000 in Cash Prizes Available for Top Three Video Entries Promoting Ethanol and Biodiesel
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) recently announced the launch of its 2nd Annual “Fuel the Future” video contest for Iowa high school students. IRFA is looking for the best student video highlighting the importance and benefits of renewable fuels—such as ethanol and biodiesel—to local communities, Iowa and the nation. The top three video entries will receive prizes in the amounts of $1,000, $600 and $400 respectively; will be featured at the 2012 Iowa Renewable Fuel Summit on January 24th; and will be posted on IRFA‘s YouTube® channel.
“With the great response we received on last year‘s ‘Fuel the Future’ contest, bringing it back for this year was a no-brainer,” said IRFA Biofuels Manager Grant Menke. “Iowa high school students are among the most intelligent, creative and technologically savvy in the nation, so we can‘t wait to see their ingenuity at work in telling the positive story of renewable fuels.”
The “Fuel the Future” contest is limited to students currently attending high school (grades 9-12 in a public, private or home school) in Iowa. Video entries may not exceed three minutes in length and must be submitted to IRFA via DVD, flash drive, or secure web link. All completed video entries must be received in the IRFA office by January 13, 2012, to be considered for the contest. For more information, including the official entry form and contest rules, please click here. For additional questions, please contact Grant Menke at (515) 252-6249 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
IRFA also thanks the law firm of Faegre & Benson LLP for sponsoring this contest for the second consecutive year.
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Caucus Heating up in Iowa
With the caucus continuing to heat up, presidential candidates are visiting Iowa more frequently. At different events in Iowa they were recently asked questions dealing with ethanol and the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). Iowa Governor Terry Branstad also addressed questions dealing with ethanol and the RFS.
At a Drake University Town Meeting, Representative Bachmann was asked about ethanol and renewable fuels, and she responded with an idea for an $80 rebate for consumers converting cars to flexible fuel vehicles (FFV). Click here for video.
At the Machine Shed Restaurant in Des Moines, businessman Cain was asked if he supported the RFS. He stated, “I'm not going to answer that question out of context. That's one of those questions that a simple yes or no could get me in trouble.” Click here for video.
At the Politico Energy & the Presidency Forum, Speaker Gingrich was asked about his support for ethanol. He stated, “First of all its national security. If you want to spend the next billion dollars in Iran or Iowa, you’re pretty foolish to spend it in Iran.” Click here for video.
During the same event Gingrich talked about the national security importance of maximizing U.S. energy production by stating, “I want to have the maximum energy in the United States. In fact a surplus of energy in the United States for very practical strategic reasons.” Click here for video.
At Governor Branstad’s Birthday Bash, Gingrich was asked about the importance of ethanol to our country. He responded, “It is very important for the security of the United States and our allies that Saudi oil and Iraqi oil and Iranian oil not be the decisive factor in the world economy. And I think ethanol is a part of an overall American energy plan and I'm thrilled to be supporting it.” Click here for video.
At Governor Branstad’s Birthday Bash, Senator Santorum was asked to speak about the importance of ethanol for our country in the future. He responded, “Given a level playing field, which is meaning getting rid of all subsidies for all energy sources, they can compete on that level playing field and produce the fuel in the United States that our country desires.” Click here for video.
Governor Branstad also participated in the Politico Energy & the Presidency Forum. The following are excerpts from the event.
Gov. Branstad says presidential candidate Jon Huntsman “is so anti-ethanol he's afraid to come to Iowa.” Click here for video.
Gov. Branstad illustrates the importance of maintaining the RFS by saying, “It’s important that the renewable fuels standard stay. That’s the way we're going to reduce our dependency on foreign oil.” Click here for video.
Gov. Branstad encourages Rick Perry and other presidential candidates to support the RFS. Click here for video.
For more videos of the candidates in their own words, visit the Iowans Fueled With Pride YouTube channel by clicking here.
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Iowans Fueled With Pride Participates in Jefferson-Jackson Dinner
Iowans Fueled With Pride (IFWP) hosted a booth at the Iowa Democratic Party Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Des Moines at the Iowa Events Center on November 19. IRFA Past-President and Lincolnway Energy board member Bill Couser represented IFWP at the event. Couser and his wife, Nancy, are pictured below in front of the IFWP booth:
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Big River Resources to Purchase Western Wisconsin Energy
According to Ethanol Producer Magazine, Big River Resources LLC entered into an exclusive agreement to purchase 100 percent ownership of the Western Wisconsin Energy LLC 55 MMgy ethanol plant located in Boyceville, Wisc. on Nov. 14. Once final, the acquisition increases Big River Resources’ total ethanol production to 385 MMgy.
Big River Resources’ other ethanol operations include the West Burlington, Iowa plant producing 105 MMgy, a facility in Galva, Ill. producing 110 MMgy, and a joint venture in the 115 MMgy Dyersville, Iowa facility. The company currently employs 204 full-time workers.
Business will continue as usual as the agreement calls for Big River Resources to hire the Western Wisconsin Energy’s existing employee team. “Big River Resources views this as an opportunity to continue to provide the Boyceville area with employment opportunities, support the local community and provide price support for corn to the local agricultural community,” stated the company.
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Decorah Students Use Final State Grants for Biodiesel Project
The Iowa Power Fund is gone, but communities in Eastern Iowa continue to carry out the projects with its final funding to find smarter ways to use energy. In Decorah, high school students are learning to monitor energy savings while learning to garden and make biodiesel fuel.
Principal Kim Sheppard said "the school’s interest in the environment began when a group of teachers gathered in 2008 to discuss ways to rejuvenate the ninth grade curriculum. That was what sparked this whole initiative.”
They designed a program that encourages students to explore their relationship with the environment. Students have chosen topics such as wind energy, recycling, mining and agriculture and present their findings to the class.
Sheppard said students continuously take part in hands-on activities, harvesting vegetables from the school garden, and cleaning local trails and rivers.
Decorah High School received its first community grant from the energy office in 2010, which helped pay for solar panels that students monitor and maintain through the Sun4Schools program.
This year, the office awarded the school $50,000 for an energy research lab, where students learn energy-saving methods and track results. So far they have purchased supplies to create a biodiesel plant to fuel school tractors, a blast chiller to preserve produce from the school garden for use in the cafeteria, and a composting unit for fertilizer. For complete story click here.
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IRFA Members Visit Capitol Hill During National Biodiesel Board Meeting
During the recent National Biodiesel Board (NBB) Membership Meeting, IRFA board members representing Ag Processing, Renewable Energy Group, Western Dubuque Biodiesel and Western Iowa Energy met with each office of the Iowa Congressional Delegation as well as the Senate Finance Committee to advocate for the extension of the federal biodiesel tax credit and protection of the Renewable Fuels Standard. Photos from these meetings are shown below:
|Craig Breitbach (Western Dubuque Biodiesel), Congressman Boswell, and Tom Brooks (Western Dubuque Biodiesel) |
|Brooks, Congressman Loebsack, and Breitbach
|Breitbach and Brooks |
|Breitbach, Denny Mauser (Western Iowa Energy), Congressman King, John Campbell (AGP), Brooks
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Attack on Iran Could Risk Gulf Oil Supplies
According to a recent Washington Times story, Iran is contemplating violently shutting down shipping in the Persian Gulf as one of several counterattack options if Israel strikes its nuclear facilities, regional and intelligence analysts say.
Such attacks would present the Obama administration with the option of undertaking a limited war against Iran by striking its warships and shore-based anti-ship missiles to keep the Gulf open for business.
Former CIA analyst Larry C. Johnson said Iran has enough firepower to effectively close the Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, through which 40 percent of all the world’s oil moves.
“One of the things that Iran has exercised, has the capability to do, is shut down the Persian Gulf,” Mr. Johnson said. “The best-case scenario is they shut it down for a week. The worst case is they shut it down for three to four months.”
He said Iran could unleash small boats laden with explosives “that we don’t have adequate covers for. Add to that the ability to fire multiple missiles. Our naval force will try to stop it, and that’s the hope.”
Mr. Johnson, now a consultant on counterterrorism, said Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, which has orchestrated attacks against the U.S. in Iraq, also likely would hit targets in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations. “I think we would be looking at a significant wave of terrorist retaliation by them,” he said. For complete story click here.
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Ohio Firm Wins $500,000 to Build Iowa Biorefinery
An Ohio firm has been awarded $500,000 in state assistance to build a biorefinery in the City of Nevada that will produce sustainable chemicals from agricultural biomass.
The Iowa Economic Development Authority Board awarded tax incentives and $500,000 worth of direct financial assistance to Thesis Chemistry LLC. Thesis also will build a corporate headquarters, research and development facility, and a pilot manufacturing plant adjacent to the biorefinery. The facilities will be operated and developed in conjunction with the BECON biomass research center in Nevada.
Thesis expects the initial phase of the production facility to open in 2014, with more product capacity being added through 2016.
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U.S. Navy Tests Biofuel to Power Ship in its Largest Alternative Fuel Demonstration
In a recent Washington Post story, the U.S. Navy recently launched its largest alternative fuel test to date, pumping 20,000 gallons of algae-based fuel into a destroyer ship that will embark on a 20-hour trip along the California coast.
The success of the Paul H. Foster ship’s overnight trip from San Diego to Port Hueneme is vital to the Navy’s plan to unveil next year a small carrier strike group of small ships, destroyers, cruisers, aircraft, submarines and a carrier run on alternative fuels, including nuclear power. By 2016, the Navy wants to deploy what it calls a “Great Green Fleet” of nuclear vessels, hybrid electric ships and other ships and aircraft powered by biofuels.
“The Navy is investing more than $500 million in the budding biofuel industry with the hope that it will be able to supply enough alternative fuel so the maritime branch can cut its dependence on fossil fuel by 50 percent over the next decade,” said Cmdr. James Goudreau, director of the Navy Energy Coordination Office.
All branches of the military are looking at biofuels to cut their ties to foreign oil as part of a national security strategy. But it’s not just Washington that will be waiting to see the outcome of the tests the Navy is conducting. Commercial aviation is increasingly turning to biofuels to fuel its planes.
The Navy has tested algae-based fuel on small ships and individual aircrafts but the Foster is the first destroyer to run on it. No changes were made to the ship’s engine to prepare it for the biofuel. Experts will be monitoring its temperature gauges and propulsion, how it runs at different speeds and how much fuel it expends as it chugs along California’s Pacific coast.For complete story click here.