Steve Pitman is the plant manager of the Poet Biorefienery in North Manchester, Indiana. He spent last week on Capitol Hill lobbying lawmakers against legislation proposed by Congressman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia. Goodlatte, along with Congressmen Peter Welch (D-VT), Steve Womack (R-AZ), and Jim Costa (D-CA) have re-introduced a bill aimed at eliminating the corn-based ethanol requirement in the Renewable Fuel Standard. Pitman said most of the Indiana lawmakers he met with were in support of corn-based ethanol, “The Hoosier delegation was in strong support of our industry and did not feel the legislation had much of a chance of passage.”
Pitman told HAT that lawmakers from other states were not as strong in their support of ethanol but,for the most part, felt the bill had only a slim chance of being passed. Pitman said overall this Congress is more supportive of the RFS than others have been, but there remains a good deal of education to be done to make lawmakers aware of the importance of renewable fuels, “Take, for example, the Goodlatte legislation, it would eliminate corn ethanol from the fuel supply but without the octane ethanol provides our cars would not run.”
Pitman said, while lower oil and gasoline prices have had an impact on ethanol profits, the actions of OPEC are showing just how important energy independence is, “This just shows that OPEC wants to keep us dependent on imported oil.” He added our efforts to use more renewable energy, produce more domestic oil, and build more fuel efficient cars is what really is scaring OPEC.
He said the new Congress is not happy with the way the EPA has been managing the RFS program and its slow pace of getting e-15 into the fuel supply, “They are going to be watching the EPA a lot closer and asking some very pointed questions about why the agency is not following the mandate of the RFS passed by Congress.”