Ethanol industry applauds Senate confirmation of Vilsack

By Erin Voegele | February 23, 2021

Tom Vilsack is once again leading the USDA. The U.S. Senate on Feb. 23 voted 92 to seven to confirm him as secretary of agriculture. Vilsack, a former two-term governor of Iowa, served as ag secretary during all eight years of the Obama administration.

Representatives of the ethanol industry are applauding his confirmation.

“Tom Vilsack is the right leader at the right time for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and he intimately understands that agriculture can and should play a vital role in addressing our world’s most pressing challenges—from food and energy security to climate change and environmental justice,” said Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association. “Secretary Vilsack knows that renewable fuels like ethanol provide a solution that is available today for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, slashing harmful tailpipe pollutants, enhancing domestic energy security, and bolstering the rural economy. We congratulate Secretary Vilsack and look forward to working with him to pursue President Biden’s vision for enhancing and expanding our nation’s production and use of clean, green renewable fuels.”

“We congratulate Tom Vilsack on his confirmation to once again lead USDA and look forward to working with him on our priority issues, including the timely matter of direct aid to biofuel producers through the optional authority provided by Congress in the latest round of stimulus,” said Brian Jennings, CEO of the American Coalition for Ethanol. “We will also work with Secretary Vilsack to advocate for biofuels within the Administration by pushing the EPA to get the RFS back on track and ensuring corn ethanol is part of climate solution. Other priorities we will engage USDA on include promoting infrastructure for E15 and E85 use, incentivizing farmers to engage in climate-smart practices which help reduce the carbon intensity of corn ethanol and restoring export market opportunities.”

“We congratulate Secretary Vilsack and are excited to work with him and his team on supporting rural America. As seen throughout his confirmation hearing and reflected in his tremendous record of public and private service to the agriculture community, Vilsack is exactly who our farmers, producers, and rural communities need in their corner right now,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy.

“Additionally, Secretary Vilsack has been a tireless champion of the biofuels industry over the years and understands the important role biofuels should play in our country’s climate change initiatives which the Biden Administration has put at the forefront of its agenda,” Skor added. “We look forward to working together to support rural economies and build back better with biofuels.” 

“We congratulate Secretary Tom Vilsack and look forward to working with him once again in this role,” said Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. “Whether serving as USDA Secretary, Iowa’s Governor, or a private citizen, Secretary Vilsack has never forgotten the value biofuels bring to American agriculture and the air we breathe. We are confident that during his tenure at USDA he will continue to be a strong champion for ethanol and biodiesel, working hand in hand with his colleagues in the administration to ensure biofuels are given every opportunity to help reduce this country’s carbon footprint and dependence on fossil fuels.”