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Ethanol will help fuel us toward energy independence

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Joshua Morby
July 2, 2009

Breaking our dependence on expensive foreign oil is essential to reducing gasoline prices, food prices and costs throughout our economy. As Americans continue to feel the pain of rising fuel prices, this July Fourth must represent America’s push for a new kind of independence—energy independence.


We must break from the one of the greatest oppressive forces facing American’s today and declare this Energy Independence Week.


Achieving energy independence won’t be easy but will require the same tenacity and strength that Americans have shown in the past. It will take hard work, innovation, investment, conservation, collaboration and patience. It will require that we change to a more diversified energy portfolio of clean, domestically produced alternative fuels that will help reduce greenhouse gasses that cause climate change while lowering our dependence on foreign oil.


Consumers must stand up and unify in demanding that we find clean, renewable solutions to our dependence on expensive petroleum. With fuel prices again rising, it’s time to act.


High worldwide demand, political conflicts and the far-reaching economic crisis are putting pressure on our limited supply of fossil fuels and driving up prices. While supplies are limited, demand is only increasing and consumers need an alternative.


Unfortunately, today 40 percent of our energy comes from petroleum and 22 percent is derived from coal. That adds up to more than $1 billion the United States spends on imported oil daily. It’s an expensive habit, and our inability to work together to find viable solutions to our dependence on fossil fuels is adding up quickly.


Biofuels remain the only current viable fuel alternative, despite headlines splashed with anti-ethanol sentiments. To secure a future of energy independence, we must create a more diversified portfolio, one that includes ethanol.


Wisconsin is on pace to produce 500 million gallons of ethanol a year. We’re helping to lead the way to American independence by producing a clean, renewable fuel alternative. Ethanol production in Wisconsin is helping to remove our dependency from foreign oil while providing jobs and strengthening Wisconsin’s economy. The average 40-million-gallon ethanol plant creates 32 full-time jobs and provides $1.2 million in tax revenue for a community.


In 2008, ethanol displaced more than 300 million barrels of imported oil. This is the equivalent of not importing any oil for 33 days. Developing clean alternative fuels and renewable energy and improving energy efficiency must remain at the forefront of our domestic agenda. In 2010, using domestically produced oil and ethanol only, American consumers could drive for 185 days without using foreign oil or to July 4, 2010—Energy Independence Day.


But this is far from enough. The situation is too urgent to allow corporate and political self-interest to prevent us from progress. We must end the finger-pointing and band together in the fight for energy independence. To do this, we must turn our support to ethanol and biofuels. Together, we can work to provide a clean, renewable form of energy that will help us to find our Energy Independence.


Joshua Morby is the executive director of the Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance. He can be reached at info@wisconsinbioindustry.com.

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