Ethanol industry leaders gather in Phoenix

By Growth Energy | February 27, 2014

PHOENIX, Ariz. — On Feb. 27, Growth Energy, a trade organization representing ethanol producers and supporters, kicked off its fifth annual Executive Leadership Conference at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge in Phoenix, Ariz.

Jeff Broin, co-chair of Growth Energy’s Board of Directors delivered a “state of the industry” address, outlining the current state of the renewable fuels industry. In his speech, Broin stressed the resilience of the industry and outlined how Congress made a promise to America to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, to clean our environment and to create American jobs. Broin stressed that our industry “will continue to hold Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency accountable,” and that as an industry, “we will do whatever we can to make sure they keep their promise.”

Furthermore, Broin stressed the importance of “educating Americans on the benefits of homegrown, renewable American ethanol.” Finally, Broin concluded by thanking all of Growth Energy’s members who have weathered the challenges in the renewable fuels industry and continue to succeed no matter the challenges, noting that collectively, “we can make ethanol a major player in the liquid fuels industry.”

Following Broin’s speech, Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, delivered an address that focused on the critical priorities of the ethanol industry. Buis outlined how defending the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), building out the necessary infrastructure for higher blends of ethanol and widespread availability of E15 in the commercial marketplace will be the main priorities of the industry in 2014.

Additionally, Buis highlighted the importance of breaking down the blendwall, so that higher blends of renewables are available to the American consumer, so not only do they have a choice of a high octane, high performance fuel, but also a choice of a fuel that supports American jobs, while also saving them money.

Buis also called on both members of Congress and the administration to stop accepting the status quo of fossil fuels and foreign oil. In stressing the importance of scaling the blendwall, Buis stated, “President Obama, if you seek to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, create jobs here in the U.S. that cannot be outsourced and strengthen the rural economy, and, if you truly want cleaner air, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, a better environment for our children and lower gas prices for American consumers, tear down this blendwall.”

In conclusion, Buis noted that this will not be an easy challenge, and that, “We all know that this is a battle – one over market share, and one that will not be accomplished overnight.” But Buis reminded members that the fight is “for American farmers, for the resilient men and women who work hard every day to fuel America and feed the world. For vibrant small town communities that have known hard times and are ready for a comeback. We are fighting for our brave troops. For those who fight for us, to ensure that they are never placed in harm’s way again, solely for our energy needs. We are fighting for the energy independence and national security of this great country – we are fighting for the United States of America.” In closing, Buis quoted President John F. Kennedy, noting, “We are in this fight, not because it is easy, but because it is hard. Because this challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.”