Don’t Let Foreign Interests Prevent US Biofuels Future
by Retired Maj. Gen. Paul D. Eaton (The Hill/VoteVets.org) Ninety-seven percent America’s motor fuel is blended with homegrown ethanol. From an energy security perspective, this is major progress that should be celebrated and encouraged.
Energy is not a luxury; it’s a necessity that has shaped conflicts across the globe and plunged U.S. warfighters into countless battles to protect U.S. interests, allies, and access to scarce resources. Renewable fuels like ethanol represent the best tools available to reduce our dependence on oil and minimize the risks associated with conflicts over fossil fuels.
Under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), America has been steadily increasing its capacity to grow, blend and utilize homegrown biofuels made from plants. We’ve cut oil imports in half since 2005. In 2015 alone, biofuels displaced more oil than the U.S. imported from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait combined. And making these biofuels now supports more than 852,000 American jobs across manufacturing, engineering, science, research and development.
Yet, some lawmakers are proposing legislation that would roll back our progress, capping consumption of homegrown ethanol at 9.7 percent — essentially mandating U.S. reliance on oil for over 92 percent of our fuel. It could accurately be labeled the Oil Monopoly Protection Act. They claim that any fuel containing less than 90 percent petroleum will break the so-called “blend wall” — a well-financed myth based on the refusal of some oil companies to offer consumers blends of ethanol beyond the standard 10 percent.
The goal of blocking competition is shared by major oil exporters like Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Their current strategy is to temporarily flood oil markets, curtailing the growth of alternatives and forcing massive layoffs in the U.S. oil and gas sector. It’s working. Last month, Saudi Arabia retook its lead as the world’s largest oil producer, according to the International Energy Agency. We’ve seen this cycle before, and it always ends with U.S. drivers sending massive sums of money overseas and greater U.S. vulnerability to supply interruptions by hostile nations.
In short, the whole campaign is fueled by misinformation, and the only real winners are Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and other foreign powers that still supply a quarter of all U.S. oil. If we are to achieve true energy security, we cannot allow entrenched fossil fuel interests to set a legal cap on their only real competition. Public policy should protect consumers, not monopolies, especially those that threaten global stability. READ MORE