On Tuesday at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill. General Wesley Clark, co-chairman of Growth Energy announced an initiative to increase the market transparency of the nation's fuel supply by requiring country of origin labeling of fuel.
"We realized that one of the keys to success for this country's energy policy is to let the American people have a choice and you can't make a choice if you don't have information on which to make that choice," Clark said. "We've done this in banking, we've done this in agriculture, we've done this in automotive, we've done this in manufacturing of clothing and there is no reason we can't do it in fuel."
Clark also introduced the Web site they have launched to support this initiative, LabelMyFuel.com.
Clark says the U.S. has spent about $7 trillion on imported fuel in the past 35 years. He said there are alternatives to sending money to countries that don't particularly like the U.S.
"What we've got in ethanol is a domestic, homegrown fuel that is 100% American," Clark said. "We invented it, we're using it and it is there for our people, we just have to let them make a choice. So we're here announcing our initiative to get legislation in place for country of origin labeling for fuel."
Although they have not asked any specific members of Congress to introduce the legislation, Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis says they have been talking to several members and their staffs and hope to announce something soon after Congress returns from recess.
"I imagine the first reaction is going to be negative and why we can't do it," Buis said. "But you know I was involved in the country of origin labeling for food. It took 14 years and we heard all these excuses but once we got the legislation worked out and passed into law the sky didn't fall. Oil is such a big component of our nation's economy. Our consumers ought to have that information passed on to them."
Clark emphasized that it is simply the release of information that is already known.
"I don't think you could have any more powerful stimulus to move toward energy independence in American than letting the American people have a direct vote on how strongly they feel about this issue every time they go to the gas pump," said Clark.