Obama touts energy plan, fails to mention ethanol

Source: by Christopher Doering, Des Moines Register • Posted: Wednesday, January 29, 2014

President Barack Obama said Tuesday his “all-of-the-above” energy policy is working, but he upset biofuel backers by failing to mention ethanol.

During his State of the Union speech, Obama touted the country’s growing production of oil and natural gas that has reduced U.S. dependence on foreign supplies. He also mentioned the United States’ growing role in becoming a leader in solar.

“The all-of-the-above energy strategy I announced a few years ago is working, and today, America is closer to energy independence than we’ve been in decades,” Obama said.

The president’s failure to mention ethanol specifically comes on the same day the comment period on an Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to reduce the amount of ethanol blended into the gasoline supply in 2014 closed. The EPA plan, which has collected more than 16,500 comments, has upset ethanol producers who have called out the White House for failing to follow through on its promise to support the largely corn-based fuel.

“So it’s all about natural gas now. Frack that,” tweeted Bob Dinneen, president of the Renewable Fuels Association, in a nod to hydraulic fracturing, a technique used to extract oil and natural gas.

National Corn Growers President Martin Barbre applauded Obama for talking about the importance of a variety of energy sources, but said that doesn’t mesh with the EPA’s proposed reduction.

“You can’t have such a policy without biofuels,” he said. “We call on his administration to back away from its irresponsible proposal to reduce the Renewable Fuel Standard, a program that has done much to promote energy independence, restore jobs in rural America, and clear the air.”

“We are heartened by the president’s commitment to an all-of-the-above energy policy. However, his administration’s proposal to reverse the progress of the Renewable Fuel Standard contradicts this rhetoric,” Fuels America said in a statement.