The Way I See It

We'd like to know how you see it
By Mike Bryan | March 01, 2006
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I have written The Way I See It for a number of years, sometimes ranting about an issue that gets under my skin and sometimes just trying to spread the word about ethanol. An associate said to me the other day, "Gee … I wonder how other people in the industry see it?" As soon as I recovered from the insinuation that there may be someone out there who sees things differently than I, I realized it may actually be a good idea to find out.

In light of this epiphany, I've asked our editorial team to accept letters to the editor, or in my case, letters to the publisher. Write to us and express your thoughts and concerns. Tell us how you feel about the opinions I express in this column, for example, or give us your two cents on how we cover important industry issues. Your comments may be focused on any segment of the industry: production, policy, use—all things ethanol. We truly want to know "How You See It" once in a while. Simply e-mail your comments (300 words or less please) to Editorial Director Tom Bryan at [email protected] We can't print letters from anonymous sources, so please include your name and contact information within your correspondence. Ethanol Producer Magazine will launch a "Letters to the Editor" page—either in the magazine or online—as soon as we've heard from a good bunch of you.

On another matter, much will be written in the months ahead about President Bush's cellulosic ethanol comments in his State of the Union address. There is one thing and only one thing that is needed to bring the production of ethanol from cellulosic materials to fruition … a national will. We seem to have billions of dollars to do whatever is required for national security, yet we hesitate to spend a hundredth of that to develop the technology for cellulosic ethanol.

The attainable objective of developing a domestic renewable fuels strategy from abundant cellulosic materials has enormous potential to bring peace and prosperity to the world. Can we do it? Of course we can! We've been able to do it for years. Is it currently competitive with ethanol from corn? No! But it will be someday soon, and we can't afford to wait until the roof caves in before we fix it.

The United States faces a serious situation with Iran. It involves a threat that goes beyond any nuclear issue and touches the security of every American … oil! If we embargo Iran and they turn off the oil spigot to the United States, we are going to think $3-per-gallon gasoline is a real bargain. The answer has been right in front of our faces for years. The president knows it. Congress has come to grips with it. It is domestically produced ethanol and biodiesel. It's not rocket science … it's just plain common sense.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I for one am fed up with the renewable energy naysayers. They offer no alternative, only criticism; no fresh concepts, only old outdated data; and no hope, only pessimism and the promise of an oil-dependent future. Is that the best we can do? I sure don't think so, Congress doesn't think so, and it seems to me that more and more people around the world don't think so either. It's time for a new direction and new energy future, and it's time for those who only seem to offer criticism to step aside and let the future through.