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RFA President Addresses Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit

January 25, 2011


Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen today is addressing the gathering of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association in Des Moines, Iowa. Dinneen is joining Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Senator Rick Santorum, and others to speak on importance of ethanol and biofuels to state and the nation. In his remarks, Dinneen will outline a framework in which discussions about the future of ethanol policy should occur. We cant legislate with wishes and bumper sticker slogans. We need to recognize the need to reform the existing tax incentive to reduce cost, encourage innovation and reflect changing market conditions, Dinneen will say. But we should not be bullied into abandoning a structure that has worked quite well, enabling marketers to invest in the infrastructure for a growing industry while lowering consumer gasoline prices for consumers. Dinneen will also note, Tax policy can also do much more to encourage the investment in necessary infrastructure. We need more blender pumps out there to enable more widespread use of E15, other mid-level ethanol blends and E85. The existing infrastructure credit is unnecessarily restrictive and needs to be expanded if we are to build beyond the 2,300 pumps nationwide currently offering more than 10% ethanol blends. Staying on the theme of tax policy, Dinneen will also emphasize the need to ensure any policies properly recognizing the role of advanced and cellulosic ethanol production. The discussion about future ethanol policy must also include a meaningful effort to accelerate the commercialization of cellulosic ethanol and other advanced biofuels. Clearly, existing policy isnt doing the job. The technology is there. But investment dollars have been slow to flow to this important sector. if the requirements of the RFS are to be met, much more will need to be done. Tax policies that stimulate investment in these innovative technologies are essential to the industrys future. Dinneen will also put the focus of upcoming legislative discussions on the hundreds of billions of dollars of subsidies still provided to very mature fossil fuel and nuclear industries. Its critically important that we not allow a unilateral disarmament for ethanol. Lets demand a broader conversation about motor fuel tax policy. Why, for example, must taxpayers continue to subsidize petroleum fuels that have enjoyed a monopoly in fuel markets for a hundred years? Why should we have to defend the investments made in renewable fuels every year, while the subsidies for petroleum remain embedded in the tax code permanently? In addition to the upcoming legislative debate on the future of ethanol tax policy, Dinneen will also discuss issues of market access. Specifically speaking about the recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency decision to expand the use of E15 to cars, pickups and SUVs made in 2001 and later, Dinneen will say, By allowing E15 for use in 2001 and newer vehicles, EPA has potentially made E15 available for about 60% of the vehicles on the road. Thats good news. And while we still believe the Agency has missed an opportunity to truly grow the market for ethanol by making E15 available to all vehicles, we must now go about the business of making the most of the opportunity we have and grow this market. That business includes but is not limited to finalizing a label for E15, finishing health effects testing required of any new fuel, ensuring state fuel regulations allow for the sale of E15, and addressing the misfueling concerns of gasoline stations with a common sense approach. The full text of Dinneens remarks as prepared for delivery can be downloaded here.