Branstad bashes Big Oil on ‘Ethanol Day’

Source: by Dan Piller, Des Moines Register • Posted: Monday, June 18, 2012

Ethanol's 'future is bright, but it won't be easy,' Gov. Terry Branstad said.

Ethanol’s ‘future is bright, but it won’t be easy,’ Gov. Terry Branstad said. / REGISTER FILE PHOTO

Governor Terry Branstad took another shot at the oil industry and what he and biofuel supporters see as a campaign by Big Oil to hold back the development of renewable energy.

“The petroleum industry has a lot of resources, and they don’t want to share the market with renewables,” Branstad told a crowd gathered in his conference room at the state Capitol before the governor signed a proclamation designating Friday as “Ethanol Day” in Iowa.

“The future is bright, but it won’t be easy,” Branstad said.

After voluntarily giving up its 45-cent-per-gallon blenders tax credit at the end of last year, ethanol and biodiesel interests now are fighting off attempts to modify or end outright the Renewable Fuels Standard, which mandates that at least 10 percent of U.S. gasoline come from renewable sources.

Branstad’s proclamation-signing Friday was on the 34th anniversary of the first commercial sale of ethanol, then known as gasohol, in Iowa. The biofuels industry languished for years until being revived in the middle of the last decade by the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard. Iowa’s ethanol industry has grown spectacularly in the last decade, from four plants in 2001 to 41 plants today that produce almost 30 percent of U.S. ethanol supplies.

Bill Couser, a farmer and cattle feeder from Nevada who also was a founding board member of the Lincolnway Energy ethanol plant at Nevada, told the group that the new cellulosic ethanol plant to be built near Lincolnway by DuPont later this year “will change the way we look in Iowa.”

The DuPont plant will turn corn refuse picked up after harvest into ethanol. A similar plant is being built by Poet adjacent to its corn-fed plant at Emmetsburg.