Energy Policy Presented
A five-point energy plan and visit to learn more about renewable fuels were the purpose of a visit by Christie Vilsack to Emmetsburg on Friday, Feb. 24. Vilsack, a candidate for the new Fourth District Congressional District, visited POET Biorefining in Emmetsburg to explain her energy plan, and was treated to a tour of the ethanol refinery as well.
Vilsack met will several area residents in the conference room at POET to outline her five-point energy plan, explaining the first step of the plan would be the creation of a National Energy Council.
“One of our problems in our country is that we don’t have an energy policy or plan in place, all due to politics. We need to have certainty and stability for our energy producers, because this is what our energy producers are saying as I visit with them,” Vilsack said. “This National Energy Council of 15 members would be appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate,” Vilsack explained. “They would be charged with developing a long-term energy plan for our nation. They could do this and take the politics out of energy and avoid the gridlock in the political process.”
Vilsack’s second point addresses the support of all forms of domestic energy production.
“We need to look at this in terms of National Security,” Vilsack noted. “We send our troops all over the world now to defend oil. Something like 80 percent of those troops come from rural America, and that’s a disproportionate number. We need to support more domestic production of all kinds of energy, not only to boost our own economy, but also for our own national security, to eliminate fighting other countries battles over oil.”
Vilsack’s third point is opposition to the repeal of the Renewable Energy Standard by Congress. “A goal of 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels has been set by our government, but if we take away the credits, we cannot build a sufficient marketplace for those fuels or reach those production levels. The Environmental Protection Agency also needs to proceed with the implementation of the E15 standard and higher to aid in this growth as well.”
Support of the Production Tax Credit for renewable fuels is Vilsack’s fourth policy point.
“I fully support a complete renewal of the tax credit for at least a five year period, especially the $1 a gallon tax credit for advanced bio-fuels, such as the cellulosic ethanol,” Vilsack said, acknowledging POET’s Project Liberty. “And, I also support the 2.2 cent-per-kilowatt credit for all renewable energy, including wind power.”
Vilsack’s final energy policy point addresses the development of new markets for renewable fuels.
“Even though Iowa is a rural state, we are a production state of new fuels,” Vilsack said. “For instance, there are 2,000 different products you can make from algae after it has been used to create ethanol. We need to find other markets for those products so that we can continue to grow our own economy and also help make our nation even more energy independent in the future.”