Addressing the tragedy hitting the Gulf of Mexico and coastal areas requires both an aggressive short term response and an equally aggressive long term energy and environmental strategy according to Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen. He has written President Obama urging him to use this accident as a teaching moment to address the underlying problem that made this oil spill possible: America's reliance on petroleum. Dinneen noted the juxtaposition of a green American farm field and the copper-toned oil slick spreading across the Gulf is striking.
Specifically, Dinneen presented three proactive steps the Obama Administration could take to address this issue. First, Dinneen wrote that the EPA should immediately move to allow for the blending of 12% ethanol by volume in each gallon of gasoline. He said while this is a good interim and immediate step, it does not address the need for a longer term vision.
Second, Dinneen said EPA should grant a full waiver for the use of 15% ethanol blends as soon as the Department of Energy testing of catalytic converters is completed early this summer.
And third, Dinneen concluded, the Department of Energy must reevaluate current loan guarantee programs to make them more accessible to next generation ethanol technologies, such as cellulose-to-ethanol conversion. He said the largest obstacle facing the commercial deployment of these cleaner and more sustainable technologies is access to capital.