WBIA BLOG

EPA’s delay on RFS decision is a mixed bag for Wisconsin consumers

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The Environmental Protection Agency said on Friday (Nov. 21) that it would not be finalizing the Renewable Fuel Standards’ renewable fuel volume obligations before the end of the year. Wisconsin farmers and ethanol industry experts are pleased with the delayed decision, but worry that it might further complicate the success of the Wisconsin corn industry and the future of renewable fuel use and technology.

The RFS was a bipartisan effort by Congress to provide cleaner fuel choices for consumers and help reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil. When the EPA proposed cuts to Big Oil’s obligations on blending renewable fuels it jeopardizes American farmers and consumers.

And that was apparent to many farmers, renewable fuel advocates, and concerned citizens all across America. Nearly 200,000 people filed public comments with the EPA regarding the proposed cut.

Though the EPA has pushed back their decision, many worry that it signals declining support for the renewable fuels sector, which depends on the volume obligations to plan production. The EPA should reconsider its proposed changes to the RVO after such substantial grassroots feedback from American consumers. But this inability of the EPA to stand up to Big Oil and set the standards as they were intended creates uncertainty in the marketplace that should have been avoided, especially because the RFS is America’s biggest policy driver for renewable fuels.

Since it’s passing the RFS has created $184.5 billion in economic impact and supported 852,056 jobs, particularly in hard-hit rural America. Wisconsin’s nine ethanol plants produce more than 470 million gallons of ethanol annually. With a $4.2 billion economic impact, Wisconsin’s ethanol industry supports 19,080 jobs totaling $982 million in wages.

The EPA heard us, loud and clear: Don’t mess with the RFS. What remains to be seen is if they will give either American consumers or Big Oil what they want.

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9th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit & Trade Show

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IowaRFA2015

The upcoming 9th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit will be hosted at The Meadows Conference Center at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa on January 27th, 2015.

The Summit is FREE & open to the public though pre-registration is required.

Interact with industry leaders and decision-makers as you listen to experts discuss state and national issues impacting the future of renewable fuels, with a focus on the impacts of the mid-term elections on U.S. energy policy, the future of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), and emerging opportunities for cellulosic ethanol, E15, and biodiesel. Learn More.

 

Presented by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association

Sponsorship and Exhibitor Opportunities
Summit sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities are available. Click here to learn more.

The Meadows Conference Center
This year’s conference will be hosted at The Meadows Conference Center at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa. Click here to learn more.

Hotel Accommodations
Hotel rooms are available at discounted rates. Use the group code and reserve your room today.

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The numbers don’t add up

The Renewable Fuels Association recently compiled a report that examined the nonexistent relationship between corn prices and retail food prices for dairy, poultry and eggs, pork and beef and found that “fluctuations in corn prices do not significantly affect consumer food prices.” We also concluded that there is “no relationship between corn demand for ethanol and retail food prices.”

The report revealed:
Retail prices for key dairy items like milk and cheese have been largely unresponsive to changes in corn prices. In fact, since January 2011, milk and cheese prices have been negatively correlated to corn prices, meaning retail milk and cheese prices have tended to move in the opposite direction of movements in corn prices.
Retail prices for other items (like chicken legs, frozen whole turkey, fresh whole chicken) have risen steadily and smoothly since 2007. Wide swings in corn prices did not interrupt or affect the gradual trend toward higher prices for these items.
Retail prices for pork products have not shown any meaningful relationship to corn prices over the past seven years. It is well documented that the recent acceleration in pork and bacon prices has been driven by piglet casualties resulting from porcine epidemic diarrhea virus. These retail price increases have occurred at a time when corn prices have been plunging.
Retail ground beef prices have steadily and smoothly trended higher over the past seven years, showing no obvious response to wide swings in corn prices.

So, if there is no apparent link between corn prices and retail food prices what causes changes in food costs for American consumers?

Transportation costs.

Which, thanks to the ridiculous monopoly held by Big Oil, means that fuel prices and energy costs have a much bigger impact on the price of our food than any other single factor. Just how closely linked are petroleum prices and food costs?

Since 2000, the U.N. food index and world crude oil prices have had a near-perfect correlation (0.97 coefficient).

foodvfuel2014rfa

Thanks to our friends at the Renewable Fuels Association for their research.

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Big Oil’s misinformation

The long stated myth that ethanol is to blame for higher food prices has been most recently debunked by new data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ international food price index.

According to the FAO, in the past year, domestic grain prices have gone down about 9 percent, but meat prices are over 20 percent higher – all of this in a time when national ethanol production has risen slightly in the US.

Big Oil is spending millions of dollars trying to con American consumers into believing that ethanol production raises the price of their food. They are basing their campaigns on lies and misinformation in an effort to limit consumer choices at the pump.

Domestic prices for corn and other grains are dropping quickly while meat prices for consumers are up 11.6 percent in the same time period. Clearly, grain pricing has little to do with what consumers end up paying as food prices in most of the US are up 2.5 percent compared to last year while farmers are struggling to make a profit.

“Corn prices are below the cost of production for most farmers, and ethanol is selling approximately $1 per gallon less than the gasoline on the wholesale marketplace,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. “The unrelenting deception coming from these trade associations to continue to perpetuate this lie to mask their growing profits at the expense of the American consumer is deplorable. Their greed and deception knows no boundaries. It’s time for Big Oil and its Big Food allies to begin telling the truth.”

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Hunger Action Month

1 in 6 Americans struggles with hunger.

It’s a difficult reality to face, but there are people in America, in each of our communities, who have difficulty feeding their families. The Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance is proud to be a partner of Feeding America in Wisconsin and over the next couple of weeks we will be posting content related to the food insecurities felt by many Americans.

Feeding America

Today, we urge you to learn a little about Feeding America and their Invest an Acre program. Through the work of this organization, founded in 1982, hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites have enjoyed a good meal when they needed it.

Through warehouses in Milwaukee and the Fox Valley, Feeding America in WI distributes more than 22 million pounds of food a year to 1,000 pantries, meal programs and other nonprofit agencies that serve 330,000 people in eastern Wisconsin.

Their Milwaukee distribution center provides food to nearly 800 nonprofit programs in nine counties and their Fox Valley branch provides food to 200 nonprofit programs in 27 counties.

Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin was founded in 1982 by the Rotary Club of Milwaukee. Since a first donation of a bushel of apples, they have distributed more than 330 million pounds of food to the hungry in our state!

 

We hope you’ll visit them at FeedingAmericaWI.org and connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

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Gasoline gives better return on investment than ethanol – Our Response

In a recent letter to the editor that appeared in the Green Bay Press Gazette a few statements were made that we at the Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance would like to address.

The letter brought up ethanol’s energy return on investment based on a ratio comparison to gasoline. But, if ethanol provides lower power than gasoline, why do both IndyCar and NASCAR use it to boost horsepower?

Without losing any horsepower or speed on the track, IndyCar Series cars burned 20,000 fewer gallons of fuel using ethanol than previous seasons using methanol.”IndyCar

The transition to the biofuel reduced on-track carbon emissions and teams report an increase in horsepower.”NASCAR.com

American-Ethanol-flag-922x520.jpg.main

 

The letter also mentions ‘subsidies:’

“If ethanol is such a good idea, then get rid of the government subsidies and mandates and let the marketplace determine whether this is a viable product.”

The truth is:

the $0.45 per gallon VEETC (known as the Blender’s Tax Credit since it was paid to oil companies and not to farmers or ethanol plants) was terminated by Congress in December 2011, along with the $0.54 per gallon tariff that protected US ethanol producers from heavily subsidized Brazilian sugarcane ethanol. You are probably aware that commencing January 1, 2012 the ethanol industry received no subsidies at all from the federal government on a per-gallon basis.” – Eric McAfee

On top of that,

“Compare the biofuels industry to the oil and gas industry, which receives more than $100 billion per year of direct cash subsidy from the US taxpayer: 1) 100% tax-free earnings using Master Limited Partnerships to own facilities and pipelines (MLP’s are illegal to use for biofuels facilities); 2) accelerated tax write-offs for well drilling (illegal for corn farmers and ethanol plants); and 3) more than $100 billion per year of military protection for shipping lanes and foreign oil fields.” - Eric McAfee

The letter mentioned the “food vs fuel” myth, too:

we are converting our food supply into gasoline when corn prices have caused food produced from corn to increase in price by 10-25 percent leading to food riots in Mexico because of the increase in the cost of corn tortillas.

Well…

USDA found that biofuels like ethanol were only responsible for .2 percent of the 4.8 percent increase in grocery bills during the first four months of 2008.” – Growth Energy

dollar

 

The reason behind the majority of the increase in corn prices was due to speculation and rising fuel costs.

The World Bank — who published a research paper several years ago claiming biofuels were to blame for rising food prices — reversed its position recently with a new study entitled Placing the 2006/08 Commodity Price Boom into Perspective. The study’s authors found that “the effect of biofuels on food prices has not been as large as originally thought, but that the use of commodities by financial investors (the so-called ‘financialization of commodities’) may have been partly responsible for the 2007/08 spike.” – World Bank (Page 2 of PDF)

ethanol use of corn

 

Ethanol is a crucial part of a sensible approach to fulfill America’s energy needs. At the very least consumers should have access to new biofuels like E15. People want choices at the pump. They want cheaper gas that’s safe for their cars and won’t pollute the air.

Simply expanding the number of locations in Wisconsin that offer E15 as a choice for consumers will create hundreds of millions of dollars in rural economic growth and in just five years could take 15 million barrels of foreign oil off our roads by displacing 300 million gallons of gasoline in our state alone.

Tell your local retailer to put in an E15 pump and share this information with your friends!

Connect with the WBIA: FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

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Wisconsin Ethanol Poll – Hosted by the WBIA

Recently, the WCGA released a poll showing Wisconsin citizens favor the use of ethanol in fuel by a 2 to 1 margin. 60% of individuals support blending ethanol into gasoline versus only 32% who oppose.

“Less than one third (32%) of participants were unsupportive of ethanol blends in their fuel,” said Joshua Morby Executive Director of the Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance.

“Clearly the public understands what Big Oil is doing their best to cover up and ignore: Ethanol is cleaner-burning, efficient, and homegrown right here in Wisconsin.”

The Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance will offer a detailed analysis of the responses from WBIA and WCGA representatives. The webinar will be available as a live YouTube stream through Google Hangouts on Tuesday, August 12th at 2:00pm CST. Viewers can post comments and ask questions before, during, and after the webinar.

The event details can be found on WBIA’s Google+ page. To view the live webinar on August 12th, interested parties can find the live stream below.

 

The poll surveyed 500 likely voters in Wisconsin and was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies for the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association.

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General Wesley Clark: Ethanol is the right choice

Wesley Clark

“This is about a cheaper fuel, it’s about a fuel that’s cleaner in the environment and it’s about reducing the $300 billion dollars a year the US sends abroad to purchase oil from foreign countries.” – General Wesley Clark, US Army, Retired

Via Chicago Tonight

 

View the full video below:

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American Energy Independence – 2014

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As we celebrate this Fourth of July holiday in appreciation of American Independence it’s important to take a moment to consider the role ethanol plays in our state and in our nation’s quest for energy independence.

A mix of energy sources will certainly be necessary to continue fueling our Nation’s success and ethanol is a key part of that journey, especially in Wisconsin.

Our country has a dangerous addiction to petroleum. Last year we burned about 135 billion gallons of gasoline, releasing harmful pollution and sending hundreds of millions of dollars to other countries.

Our energy independence is more crucial now than ever and we’re well positioned to take advantage of the opportunity at hand. Wisconsin ranks in the top 10 producing states in the country for ethanol production with nine plants and overall capacity at close to 540 million gallons. On average each of these plants contribute more than $200 million to the local economy and directly employ about 40 people.

In the last five years Wisconsin ethanol producers made, and consumers in the state consumed, more than two billion gallons of ethanol. This locally made, cleaner burning fuel displaced the need to import more than by 10 million barrels foreign oil in the same period.

Ethanol has proven itself to be a reliable and safe. Over the past decade ethanol has become a major component of nearly every gallon of gas sold in America. But the big oil companies have said enough is enough and are working to limit higher-level blends of ethanol as a choice for consumers.

While nearly every car on the road today is designed to run on gasoline blended with 10 percent ethanol most of our cars (80 percent) could safely consume higher level blends of ethanol saving drivers money and increasing engine efficiency.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 75-80 percent (http://www.epa.gov/otaq/regs/fuels/additive/e15/420f11003.pdf) of the cars on America’s roads could be using E15, a 15% ethanol 85% gasoline blend.

While I’m making no claims that ethanol is the silver bullet, it does play a key role in our energy independence. It is clean, domestically produced, reduces greenhouse gasses that cause climate change and helps strengthen Wisconsin communities both in rural areas and in our cities.

It will require an uphill climb to bring energy independence to America, but it is not an impossible task.We can make it easier for consumers to have access to new biofuels like E15. People want choices at the pump. They want cheaper gas that’s safe for their cars and won’t pollute the air.

This Independence Day, consider America’s energy independence and help us bring E15 to a wider market. Together we can create meaningful change and leave our children a better economy, stronger communities, and healthier air.

Expanding the number of locations in Wisconsin that offer E15 as a choice for consumers will create hundreds of millions of dollars in rural economic growth and in just five years could take an additional 15 million barrels of foreign oil off our roads by displacing 300 million gallons of gasoline in our state alone.

Tell your local retailer to put in an E15 pump and visit us online at WisconsinEthanol.com to learn more.

 

By Josh Morby
Executive Director, Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance

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Wisconsin drivers save by choosing renewable fuels

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As the situation in Iraq comes home to motorists paying higher prices at the pump, the Fuels America coalition is urging greater reliance on less expensive, homegrown fuels as opposed to reliance on the volatile market for foreign oil.

In fact, an analysis of state data covering the past year from www.E85prices.com shows that drivers with Flex Fuel vehicles in Wisconsin can pay an average of $0.58 less per gallon by filling up with E85, which contains up to 85 percent American ethanol.

Ethanol is a higher octane fuel that improves engine performance. That is why it has been added to gasoline for decades and is now being blended at higher levels into the fuels used throughout professional auto racing.

Prices for American-grown renewable fuels like ethanol and advanced biofuels have grown increasingly competitive thanks to America’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which ensures that homegrown renewable fuels are available as an option to American consumers.

The analysis of data from E85 Prices also revealed that drivers have saved as much as $0.80 per gallon at the pump over the past year by filling up on E85. And because ethanol increases the available fuel supply, it helps to drive down the price of gasoline for all drivers regardless of whether they choose a higher blend fuel like E15 or E85.

In addition to saving American drivers money, the RFS has helped to support 852,000 jobs and $184.5 billion in economic output in the U.S. The renewable fuels industry supports 19,080 jobs and $982.6 million in wages in Wisconsin alone, as well as $4.2 billion in economic output.

Meanwhile, violence in Iraq is driving high gas prices even higher than predicted. Mere worries about oil supply issues have already helped drive world and U.S. prices to their highest levels since September. Americans could see prices for regular gasoline jump more than $0.20 per gallon over the next couple weeks as violence in Iraq continues.

Fuels America’s announcement coincides with a paid advertising campaign to highlight the consumer savings the RFS and the renewable fuels industry deliver for Americans.

The coalition is running digital ads that ask Americans why we should let Big Oil pump us dry and call on our leaders to invest in affordable, homegrown renewable fuels by protecting America’s Renewable Fuel Standard.

 

Taken from www.agriview.com

Written by:
Aaron Wells

320-247-7616, aaron@smoottewes.com.

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