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Big names in energy security council

A new group with some big names has been formed to raise the profile of the nation’s energy security needs. This past week, Robert McFarlane, former national security adviser, and James Woolsey, former CIA director, wrote an op ed piece.
By Susanne Retka Schill | September 26, 2011

A new group with some big names has been formed to raise the profile of the nation’s energy security needs. This past week, Robert McFarlane, former national security adviser,  and James Woolsey, former CIA director, wrote an op ed piece published Sept. 20 in the New York Times, “How to Weaken the Power of Foreign Oil.”

In the piece, they point to oil’s virtual monopoly on transportation fuels, and add, “For more than 35 years we have engaged in self-delusion, saying either that we have reserves here at home large enough to meet our needs, or that the OPEC cartel will keep prices affordable out of self-interest. Neither assumption has proved valid.”  They make the connection that expanding alternative fuel use requires expanding flex-fuel vehicles, and call for legislation requiring more FFVs. “The time has come to strip oil of its strategic status. We owe it to those who lost their lives on 9/11 and in its aftermath, and to those whose fate still hangs in the balance,” the authors conclude.

To those in the ethanol industry, there’s nothing new here, although the background of the authors’ lends some credibility to the arguments presented. McFarlane and Woolsey also announced a new bipartisan group, the United States Energy Security Council, with an impressive list of members: former Secretary of State George P. Shultz and two former secretaries of defense, William J. Perry and Harold Brown, as well as three former national security advisers, a former C.I.A. director, two former senators, a Nobel laureate, a former Federal Reserve chairman, and several Fortune-50 chief executives (including a former president of Shell Oil North America, John D. Hofmeister).

Soon, the skeptics won’t be able to scoff at cellulosic ethanol. Just this week, Abengoa announced it has its air permit in place and the final USDA loan guarantee approval is soon to be signed. Poet announced it got the final signature on DOE’s loan guarantee for its cellulosic ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa. Mascoma and Fulcrum BioEnergy both registered for IPOs this week. And, that’s just the news from this past week – momentum is building.

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