Vilsack follows up on editorial attacking E15

By Holly Jessen | October 14, 2010
Posted Oct. 26, 2010

Ethanol industry supporters often respond to negative newspaper editorials about ethanol. On Oct. 26, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack took on the job by sending a letter to the editor responding to a Wall Street Journal editorial.

"The Ethanol Bailout: EPA does the industry another big favor" was published Oct. 18 and claimed, among other things, that ethanol is more expensive than gas, increases carbon emissions more than gas and that few drivers would buy the fuel unless they were required to by law. The ethanol industry would roundly dispute those claims, of course.

Vilsack followed up by saying the editorial "sidesteps the critical role the ‘blend wall' decision will play in building a sustainable green economy in America." The U.S. EPA decision on E15 is scientifically sound. If follows a comprehensive review of extensive testing on the impact E15 would have on the durability of engines and their emissions, he said.

In addition, approving E15 helps ensure that the corn ethanol market will act as a "successful stepping stone" that creates jobs all across the country. "Biofuels present an extraordinary opportunity to move away from our dangerous dependence on foreign oil and to reduce risks to our environment," he said. "Why not create it every single year from the hard work of farmers, ranchers and other rural Americans?"

Vilsack also said this week he would outline the USDA's strategy to help develop a biofuel industry using feedstocks produced regionally all across the U.S. The plan is to use the "best science, technology and infrastructure solutions" to advance a profitable renewable fuels industry. The information will also address some of the issues raised in the Wall Street Journal editorial, he said.

Vilsack closed his letter with a reminder that the petroleum industry receives billions in tax breaks yearly.