(Promoted by Colorado Pols)
Only Nixon could go to China.
With increasing regularity, political attacks masked as journalism have replaced a national press corps that once served as a legitimate arbiter of fact. As it turns out, the AP article was devoid of a laundry list of facts. Yet another in a series of well-funded efforts by Big Oil to undermine our march to an economy less-dependent on fossil fuel while building our national economic, security and energy resilience. (In June of this year, the US Supreme Court ruled against the American Petroleum Institute, etal. on their challenge to E-15.)
If there is any one thing the renewable fuels industry can count on – this won't be the last time they'll be up against the Big Oil legal team.
Interests with that kind of money don't like to be told 'no".
If one took the AP story and inserted 'Bakken Field' or 'fracking" for every reference to ethanol, you'd get a more complete picture of the assault on our environment by those industries. Funny enough, no one on Capitol Hill is calling for an end to the extraction activities of those precious, finite resources.
It isn't that hard to do the math.
There is more-often-than-not substantial costs, both seen and unseen, to "walls" – they can manifest themselves in many ways: physical walls intended to separate the free from the oppressed; political walls that prevent an engaged public from participatory democracy. Regulatory walls that maintain monopolistic powers in a theoretical free-markets. Economic walls that perpetuate poverty and concentrate wealth.
From an energy perspective the United States is the East German-equivalent side of the Berlin Wall. An economy controlled by Big Oil – an industry long-addicted to public subsidy, parading as a free-market provider of cheap energy. A government literally occupied by the monied interests of the industry [they have spent in excess of $105 million in lobbyist this year alone]; a society under siege by a hostile climate created by the industries emissions. A society longing for a different form of energy governance.
Our energy future lies on the west side of the wall.
But first, Congress must "Tear down this wall" – the oil-industry's self-imposed blend wall – used as a shield to insulate itself from a growing, national biofuel supply and to reject any further growth in the industry.
Congressman, let's start a very different discussion on Capitol Hill. A discussion about the benefits to this nation in eliminating the blend wall; the benefits of an open-market place for liquid fuels produced by rural America. An infrastructure that gives American consumers a choice. Let's talk about the economic benefits to rural America, not the least of which is our shared home county of Yuma. Let's talk about lowering health costs related to the aromatics (benzene, toluene and xylene) that currently make up 30% by volume of the current gasoline supply and displacing them with advanced biofuels.
Let's set the stage to unleash America's technological and entrepreneurial prowess to lead the world in the Third Industrial Revolution.
Let's start this discussion today amongst your peers in the US House of Representatives. Many of the regions in the US richest in natural resources are experiencing the most extreme depopulation. There is a significant disconnect between our federal energy policy, rural jobs and infrastructure investment.
Here's my thoughts on the transition:
- * Call for hearings with EPA and demand they exercise their authority under the Clean Air Act to eliminate aromatics from our nation's fuel supply. A 2007 MATS study conducted by the EPA concluded they could be replaced by ethanol. At the time the economics of that transition made the transition challenging: we were under-producing ethanol to meet the RFS and oil was trading at $20/bbl. Today, that equation has flipped. MATS is not scheduled to be re-visited until 2017. Call for an early re-opening. This is one example where EPA action can produce significant, new jobs in rural America by exercising their existing authority – and it will save us an estimated $36 billion/yr in health costs, too.
- * Mandate that car manufacturers equip all new cars sold in the United States as flex fuel capable. Before someone in your caucus has a heart attack – I'm not suggesting the consumption of biofuels be mandated. I'm suggesting we mandate the vehicles ability to do so. Let the consumer be empowered to make that decision. And the cost of this is low.
- * Incentivize the retrofit of the legacy (existing) vehicle fleet to maximize the efficient combustion of the fuels. We need smart engines as much as we need smart fuels. Today's combustion engine has changed little in its basic design in over a century. The reduction in fuel economy with ethanol is a symptom of today's engines not being able to benefit from the octane levels – not an indictment on the fuel.
- * Call for a doubling of our Strategic Petroleum Reserve, accomplished through a broad network of advanced biofuel plants across the nation – a partnership led by USDA and the Department of Defense.
This isn't a challenge we can solve overnight – but we must begin the transition. And we can't solve the problem without addressing all components of the system at the same time. The opportunities for our shared, rural landscapes are too immense to dismiss.
Before Reagan arrived at the wall to make his speech, some say the inertia of the transition to a free and unified Germany was already in motion. Some say it took a transformative leader to create the tipping point. In either case, history has been kind to the Gipper.
In this case much of the inertia, too, is already in place. Farmers investing in biofuel facilities; our very own Yuma County vying to be the alternative energy capital of Colorado. Rural communities nationwide are experiencing the benefits of this new energy economy. Our own Colorado State University is leading the transformation.
What we need is a tipping point.
This is your Berlin Wall moment.