The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) and more than 80 of its members are in Washington, DC, this week to meet with administration officials and members of Congress as part of ACE’s annual legislative fly-in.
Yesterday and today, ACE and its members have been in nearly 170 meetings with lawmakers or their staffs representing 45 states. ACE members will also meet with USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, EPA Assistant Administrator Janet McCabe, and Special Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Dan Utech.
Fuel retailers are also participating in the fly-in. “These retailers have installed equipment to sell E15 and E85, and share with legislators their first-hand success with getting over the E10 blend wall,” said Chuck Beck, public affairs director, ACE. Moreover, most of the retailers were willing to share their sales figures showing the growing interest in higher ethanol blends, he added. “They all pointed out that the equipment and infrastructure costs are not as bad as Big Oil argues,” Beck said. “They also tried to show how restrictive oil chain contracts can be if a retailer wants to remain a branded station. We felt this was an important rebuttal to the free market argument that the anti-ethanol forces in Congress try to point out.”
Asked about the feedback that ACE and its members have received about EPA’s proposal to reduce the volume requirements in the RFS for 2014, Beck said, “We’ve heard a variety of responses on the RFS. Some say it’s unlikely the issue will be addressed in Congress this year given the limited amount of working days left on the legislative calendar. However, during one of our meetings, it was mentioned that a Republican senator from the South tried to tack onto the Ukrainian aid bill an amendment that would eliminate the RFS within five years. Regarding the EPA’s proposal, our attendees, based on what we have heard in Washington this week, feel cautiously optimistic that the final rule may be a little friendlier to us than EPA first proposed.”