Yesterday at the annual RFA membership meeting in Washington, DC, deputy assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change policy Heather Zichal had the following comments regarding President Obama and some of the major issues impacting ethanol and Illinois Corn.
“I always like to remind people that before President Obama was the President, he came from Illinois. So he’s no stranger to biofuels. And now, like then, the President understands the tremendous potential of this industry, not only from an energy perspective but from an economic and environmental perspective as well.”
“To be clear, this administration is working to provide continued support for first-generation corn ethanol, which we believe is a critically important renewable fuel source.”
“The administration has had a strong partnership with RFA and we certainly look forward to continuing that. As you know, we support the extension of the ethanol tax credit and recognize how important that is to the industry.”
“There have been some recent discussions about how the tax credit might potentially be reformed. The message I want to bring to you today is that we want to and look forward to engaging with the industry and the Hill as we look at options for reform.”
“On the E-15 waiver request, I’ve spoken with many of you about this and heard your concerns. EPA has been working on the waiver and DOE has a rigorous testing process to ensure that a wide range of vehicles can accommodate higher ethanol blends. We expect very soon EPA will have a decision on vehicles with model years 2007 and younger.”
The good news is the White House is talking about corn ethanol and is supportive of extending VEETC for one year as the industry works with the administration on how to reform the tax incentive.
Unfortunately, Ms. Zichal also reaffirmed that USEPA might grant only a limited waiver for E15 for the newer vehicles.
She did not address or respond to our recommendations to move quickly to E12 for all vehicles rather than pronouncing a waiver for 2007 and newer vehicles. This would not be a win for anyone.
Zichal’s entire comments can be read here.
Additionally, Zichal was a participant in the RFA-sponsored debate series on between the Obama and McCain Campaigns during the last presidential election.