New organization formed to advocate for RFS

By Ann Bailey | September 30, 2015

The ethanol industry has a new advocate in the form of a non-profit organization called Americans for Energy Security and Innovation.

The organization will target its efforts on expanding support of the renewable fuel standard (RFS), said Jim Talent, a former U.S. senator from Missouri, who will serve as AESI chair. The group will be made up of biofuels producers and investors across the United States, Talent said.

Talent declined to name the producers and investors, but characterized them as people who are familiar with the RFS and want to ensure its continuation, not only for business reasons, but because they believe biofuels, such as ethanol, reduce the U.S.’s dependence on foreign oil.

“They know business. They know how it is working. They want to advocate for it.” Talent said. He acknowledged that industry organizations already exist that are promoting the industry, but said that AESI wanted to have its own voice in the ethanol industry.

He emphasized that the RFS would specifically be the target of ASEI’s efforts. “We are going to be working with other groups, but we wanted to have an independent platform so we could get out our own message. We’re happy to work with other people, but we’re happy to have our own platform.”

Growth Energy is pleased that AESI joined the fight to ensure that the RFS is protected and that America has a strong, robust and resilient, fuels industry, said Tom Buis, Growth Energy CEO in a news release.

Talent always advocated for renewable fuels and rural America, Buis said. He expressed confidence AESI will be effective in the battle to improve the environment, create jobs in America that cannot be outsourced and reduce dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels, at the same time giving customers a choice at the pumps.

Renewable Fuels Association  President and CEO Bob Dinneen said in a statment that RFA welcomed the AESI and called Talent an enthusiastic and outspoken supporter of ethanol. "We look forward to hearing the ideas this new group will put forth to ensure that the American public has access to clean, secure, affordable home-grown sources of energy," he said. "Indeed, the RFS is law today in no small part because of Senator Talent’s leadership on the Energy Committee during his tenure representing the people of Missouri. He knows far better than most the rural economic, energy security and economic promise of the RFS.”

Americans for Energy Security and Innovation will mobilize at the grass roots, level, Talent said. “It’s an informational campaign. When you do that, you effect the political process.” One way AESI will communicate its message is on social media, Talent said. “We hope to add to the voices out there, to coordinate with them to make the overall message move effective.”

Talent dismissed a suggestion by a reporter that the addition of AESI to the existing groups who already are promoting the ethanol industry could be a detriment, noting that the amount of money that groups that are not supportive of the ethanol industry dwarfs what AESI and other biofuels industry advocates spend.