The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) and 70 of its grassroots members met with Members of Congress and EPA officials last week in Washington, D.C., during the organization’s 10th anniversary fly-in. This year marks a decade of ACE bringing advocates from all walks of life together to tell their ethanol story on Capitol Hill. ACE recognized 26 attendees who attended five or more of the 10 fly-ins. Thirteen of this year’s attendees were joining for the first time, and over the past 10 years, around 260 unique individuals have attended ACE fly-ins, representing 28 states and the District of Columbia. Comments from a few who have attended almost every year below:
“It’s critically important that we come out here each year because there is always new congressional staff to speak with, and most were not here when the RFS was written,” said Dave Sovereign, ACE Board Vice President, representing Golden Grain Energy. “It’s an education process for them and I think the “Power by People” campaign is right on the money, trying to get people to identify with the faces behind some of these issues. I like to meet people and get them talking to answer their questions, while helping them connect how renewable fuels make for a better environment and a better economy.”
“The ACE fly-in is very important for our industry,” said Dale Tolifson of Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company. “I think we have great stories to tell and I think we can change people’s minds to at least understand where we’re coming from and the good we’re doing. I think ACE is a great organization, and I think coming to these meetings really helps us speak about our issues on the Hill.”
“I think it gives us a good opportunity to present the story of how ethanol is made and how important it is to our rural economy,” said Jerry Calease with Golden Grain Energy. “We have the whole circle of fuel production from the corn field to the end user that we bring to our meetings.”
“ACE has great members and it’s shown by their dedication to put time and resources into coming to Capitol Hill time and time again,” said Brian Jennings, ACE CEO. “We began this fly-in 10 years ago, shortly after the RFS was enacted, and we knew the program was going to be a gamechanger. Now, here we are 10 years later with lots of talk about changing the law. It’s a fortuitous time to be on Capitol Hill and urge Members of Congress that if put into motion these changes could be detrimental to ACE members and rural America.”
This year’s fly-in agenda included a visit from Bill Wehrum, EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, as well as remarks from Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa.