Branstad says ethanol education needed

Source: By ROD BOSHART, Lee-Gazette Des Moines Bureau • Posted: Wednesday, August 8, 2012

DES MOINES — Gov. Terry Branstad expressed concern Monday that uninformed or misinformed federal decisions could be made at the federal level will hurt renewable fuels as America reduces its dependency on foreign oil.

“I just think we need to do a better job of informing and educating people so they don’t panic over something like this drought situation and do something stupid like reducing our production of alternative fuels that have made a difference in reducing our dependency on foreign oil,” Branstad told his weekly news conference.

“We are moving in the right direction finally, but we have a long ways to go to really become energy self sufficient in this country, and we can if we don’t forget what got us where we are.

The governor was responding to recent calls to suspend federal renewable energy standards as drought conditions drive corn prices to record levels with negative effects on the livestock industry and other economic sectors.

Branstad said there are a lot of uninformed people, especially on the U.S. coasts, who think the corn being grown in Iowa is sweet corn for human consumption and that ethanol is impacting food production.

He said this summer’s drought conditions have created some short-term problems but he worried they could precipitate policy decisions that would hurt renewable fuels.

“We’ve just got to get the facts out and not let people be bamboozled by misinformation by people that don’t have any knowledge of where food comes from and how it’s produced and the impact that this has had,” the Iowa governor said.