Patriot Renewable Fuels calls RFS proposal a "slap in the face"

By Patriot Renewable Fuels | December 09, 2013

"I look at it like a slap in the face for me as a veteran,” says veteran Darrell Rakestraw, an employee of Patriot Renewable Fuels located in Annawan, Ill., upon reading the U.S. EPA’s proposed 2014 renewable fuel volumes for the renewable fuel standard (RFS).

“To every veteran out there. For all the men and women who are still serving. And I really think that Big Oil is dancing on the graves of all the soldiers who sacrificed their lives. It's a wrong decision to make. We have to get less dependent on foreign oil,” stressed Rakestraw.

On Nov. 15, the EPA outlined its renewable fuel volume obligations, and according to people like Rakestraw and Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., the country is poised to “take a step backwards.”  Bustos said, “At worst we need to stay at status quo but what we really need to do is make improvements.”

The goal of the RFS is to blend 36 billion gallons of biofuels by 2022 in an effort to reduce dependence on foreign oil, improve rural economies and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Gene Griffith, president of Patriot Renewable Fuels, notes that his plant has achieved all three of these goals. In the past five years, Patriot has infused more than $18 million in salary and benefits into the local economy. Patriot buys 40 million bushels of corn per year as a new market for Illinois corn. The biorefinery has also contributed more than $400 million to the U.S. balance of trade while creating an export market to China in the form of dried distillers grains, or DDGs, a high protein animal feed.  By producing 550 million gallons of ethanol, Patriot replaced $1.2B foreign oil imports.

In an effort to increase awareness and understanding of the biofuels industry among both individuals and state and federal legislators, Patriot Renewable Fuels held a RFS roundtable and rally that included Rep. Bustos along with several state legislators including Sen. Mike Jacobs, and Rep. Don Moffitt.

Bustos told the crowd, “We need to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to fight for ethanol. That we’re doing everything we can to fight for biofuels. It’s so critical to the state of Illinois and to our country.”

She continued, “This is about economic development. We need to do everything we can to help the rural communities. It also helps us get away from dependence on foreign oil. Who can argue with wanting to get away with our dependence on foreign oil? And the RFS is a big part of that.”

Individuals like Rakestraw and Griffith along with the Patriot team are doing something to fight for the RFS. Rakestraw created a White House petition in support of the RFS and encourages people with skin in the game to support the country and veterans by signing the petition.

Griffith notes that of all the benefits Patriot Renewable Fuels has given to the local community, Illinois and the country, there is one benefit that really means a lot to him. “Probably the thing I’m most emotional about is our need to reduce dependence on foreign oil,” says Griffith. “Our grassroots project has added about $1.2 billion dollars to the biofuels industry in a little over five years. That’s money that this country doesn’t have to send to the Middle East to buy foreign oil and its money that saves our balance of trade.”

There is something that Rakestraw would like every American to know about the RFS. “They need to realize we will continue to commit our mothers and fathers and our sons and daughters to wars in foreign lands. They may claim it’s in the name of humanity, but a lot of time it’s in the name of Big Oil. And we’ve got to stop that.”

Rep Bustos agrees. “We have time to fight this. Let’s fight for the RFS.”