The President Speaks for Ethanol

April 26, 2006

April 26, 2006

It was an exciting historic event to join with fellow "Aggie Groupies" listening to President George W. Bush speak at the "Renewable Fuels Summit 2006." Yes, it was fun to hear from the President, but what really hyped the event was what he had to say.

"We need a variety of new energy sources to cure our addiction to imported oil. We need ethanol and biodiesel. We need Anwar oil." He pointed out if we had brought Anwar on stream 10 years ago, that field would be supplying 20% of our needs today. We need more refineries. We haven't built one in 30 years. The permit process takes forever -- next to impossible. "No -- not in my back yard." That's the complaint. We need to spend more on R&D.

His speech was clearly a call to action. The urgency is underscored every time we fill our car with gas. Every time we pay our farm fuel bill. When I filled my car with $3 fuel today, on one hand, I don't like paying so much, but on the other, I know that these higher prices are the only thing that will get our national attention to do something about our risky dependence on Middle East oil. 60% of our oil is imported. In an unstable world, that is scary.

I tip my hat to the pioneers like ADM for staying the course, standing behind ethanol, in the face of years of criticism and skepticism from the Eastern press. "It's not economical." "It costs too much." "Subsidies to ethanol are a waste." "More energy is consumed than is created." On and on.

Well, skeptics -- eat your words!

The President said to all of us -- to the Ag industry -- "I am glad to stand with you."

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington.