The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) and over 70 of its grassroots members lobbied Members of Congress last week in Washington, D.C., during the organization’s ninth annual fly-in. The two-day event brought together retailers, ethanol producers, investors, corn growers, service and product providers and more to participate in over 120 meetings on Capitol Hill.
This year’s fly-in was focused on encouraging co-sponsorship of bipartisan legislation recently introduced in the House and Senate (S. 517, H.R. 1311) to extend Reid vapor pressure (RVP) relief to E15 to allow its use all year round, as well as expressing that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) works; it’s an America-first energy policy and supports a strong rural economy. “People who have been on multiple ACE fly-ins reported that there is more awareness on Capitol Hill about ethanol and the RFS,” said Brian Jennings, ACE Executive Vice President.
A handful of retailers, including representation from Jetz Convenience Centers, Cresco Fast Stop, Midway Service, Good and Quick, Sheetz and Propel Fuels, provided lawmakers with real-life examples of the importance of the RFS and RVP regulatory relief. Attendees met with both ethanol supporters and opponents, inside and outside of the corn belt.
“We’re encouraged by our meetings because there seemed to be growing support for RVP legislation, even with Members of Congress from outside the corn belt,” Jennings said. “When you explain to them that retailers aren’t allowed to sell E15 in the summer months, even though E15 has lower evaporative emissions than gas and E10, they see this as a problem that needs to be fixed, whether Congress takes that step or EPA decides they can do it on their own.”
This year’s fly-in agenda included a visit from Eric Branstad, Senior White House Advisor to the Department of Commerce. He addressed the crowd at the Wednesday evening reception. “At the end of the day, you have the White House and the President’s support because you’ve earned it,” Branstad said. “I want to make sure Washington, D.C., is educated on ethanol and it’s so important that you share that message.”
Adam Gustafson with Boyden Gray & Associates was another guest speaker, who provided insight on the Urban Air Initiative’s regulatory strategy for higher octane fuels.