Yesterday, President Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address touched on energy. There have been many reactions in agriculture and from government leaders to what he spoke about.
Novozymes, a technology company nearing completion of a new biofuels innovation plant in Blair, Nebraska, was pleased with the President’s renewed commitment to renewable energy.
Adam Monroe, President of Novozymes North America, said, “It’s proven that home-grown, renewable energy can put steel in the ground, create jobs and power our economy. Working with the President, we can help America become less dependent on foreign oil and a smarter consumer of energy. Innovations like advanced biofuels can play a major role in the President’s vision but we need steady policies like the Renewable Fuels Standard and we look forward to working Congress to preserve them.”
Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a $25 million partnership with Fiberight, a Novozymes partner, to support the construction of a new advanced biofuels plant in Blairstown, Iowa. The plant will turn waste into biofuels, producing six million gallons per year when fully operational in the first half of 2013.
The National Biodiesel Board agreed that renewable fuels are important. In response to the State of the Union, NBB’s Vice President of Federal Affairs Anne Steckel said,”With the help of strong domestic energy policy, we had a record year of production last year and supported nearly 40,000 jobs across the country.”
“We know we can build on that success, and we couldn’t agree more with the president that it should be a top priority,” Steckel added. “That’s why we’re calling on the Administration to quickly finalize the delayed EPA rule for boosting biodiesel use under the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2013. This is a decision that the Administration can make singlehandedly and that would support more than 10,000 new jobs.”
Under the RFS in 2011, the biodiesel industry produced a record volume of 1 billion gallons, easily exceeding the 800-million-gallon requirement for Biomass-based Diesel. The EPA last year proposed increasing the volume requirement from 1 billion gallons in 2012 to 1.28 billion gallons in 2013. But the agency announced in December that it was delaying a final decision to conduct further review.
The National Corn Growers Association also had good things to say. Chairman Bart Schott said that NCGA was pleased to hear the President’s continued commitment to energy dependence in our nation.
Schott says, ” The American ethanol industry answered the call nearly 30 years ago to provide feedstock for a domestically produced renewable energy source. Today, that same feedstock constitutes more than 10% of the nation’s fuel and continues to provide a bountiful supply of corn to our long term customers. The corn ethanol industry has proven that good government policy sends signals to the market place for producers to increase production and efficiencies. As family corn farmers have risen to the challenge to meet our nation’s energy needs, we are hopeful the direction the President outlined tonight offers similar opportunities for others to expand our energy independence.”
The American Soybean Association also commended the President on several things, one being his commitment to domestic energy production. The American biodiesel industry produced approximately 1 billion gallons of biodiesel in 2011, and aims to surpass that total in 2012. This success resulted in no small part from the foresight, work, and investment from the soybean industry, and the support provided through the biodiesel tax incentive and Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). ASA calls on Washington to continue the biodiesel success story by immediately renewing the biodiesel tax incentive and continuing the commitment to the RFS.
The industry seems optimistic that the President’s address was encouraging for biofuels and hopes the advancement of the technology will continue to grow.
Sources: Novozymes, NBB, NCGA, ASA