The evolution of the ethanol industry is a success story of American energy policy, and it shows how important it is to preserve our goals of moving toward energy independence.

At the end of 2011, the ethanol tax credit expires, and it's unlikely that it will be renewed.

What you may not know is that the ethanol industry is ready for this change. The tax credit was meant to jump-start an industry that would eventually be self-sufficient. That time has come. The incentive worked.

With this success firmly in hand, now is not the time to abandon our commitment to developing our domestic fuel supply. We have a bold target in the Renewable Fuels Standard of 36 billion gallons of ethanol (about half of our gasoline from imports) from corn and cellulosic sources such as crop residue, wood waste or switchgrass. The industry's success to date shows that we can reach that target as long as the commitment remains firm.

That standard prompted POET to commercialize cellulosic ethanol, which has never been done on a large scale. We're now doing site work in Iowa on a 25 million-gallon-per-year ethanol plant that will use cobs, leaves, husks and stalks as the source for fuel. This plant is just the beginning so long as America keeps its eyes on the goal.

The Renewable Fuels Standard must stay intact, as should EPA's approval of 15 percent ethanol (E15), which allows all drivers of vehicles 2001 and newer to use more ethanol if they choose. We support fuel choice for Americans.

Today the U.S. ethanol industry produces more than 14 billion of gallon of fuel annually, which reduces prices at the pump and lowers our dependence on foreign oil. American ethanol provides more fuel to the United States than countries such as Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.

In doing so, ethanol has created and supported more than 400,000 jobs nationwide. In Indiana alone, ethanol has created and supported more than 3,500 jobs according to one study, with 13 plants across the Hoosier State.

Ethanol producers look forward to working closely with agriculture producers to advance our shared goals: affordable fuel and food for American families across the country. By working together, we can meet our nation's energy needs, help clean the environment for future generations, and create good paying rural jobs that will build an energy independent future for America.

Steve Pittman is the general manager of the POET Biorefining Plant in Portland and the president of the Indiana Ethanol Producers Association.


source: thestarpress

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