The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) 32nd annual conference is underway in Omaha, Neb.
The conference started with a welcome address from Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts.
“As the second largest ethanol producing state in the nation, President Trump’s approval of year-round E15 is a big win for Nebraska,” said Ricketts. “There is, however, still more work to do. While the EPA granted fewer small refinery waivers to the RFS this year, the 1.4 billion of gallons waived undermines the purpose of the RFS. To deliver on President Trump’s support for ethanol, the EPA should be more transparent about the waiver process and re-allocate any waived gallons.They owe it to our farmers.”
The start of the conference also included updates from ACE leadership.
“The agriculture and ethanol industries have been weathering challenging market conditions as we convene for the 32nd annual ACE conference, and there are headwinds to confront ahead,” said Duane Kristensen. “With uncertainty surrounding the RFS and trade negotiations, we must engage in meaningful dialogue to find ways to increase demand for ethanol in our fuel supply domestically with E15 and higher ethanol blends, as well as in markets around the globe that are beginning to recognize ethanol’s high octane and environmental benefits in renewable fuels policies.”
ACE CEO Brian Jennings acknowledged how the EPA’s finally allowing year-round E15 use is a positive development, but pointed out the good news is being undermined by the bad. He encouraged the ACE conference crowd that now is the time to stand up and speak out against the clear harm the administration’s actions have had on the industry.
“EPA continues to mismanage the RFS with a refiner-win-at-all-costs approach to small refinery exemptions, and when you throw in trade wars for good measure, it constrains our ability to expand the use of ethanol here at home and around the world,” Jennings said. “We’ve come to the conclusion we cannot merely play defense on the RFS and hope trade wars subside. We need to turn the page, to go on offense. We need a new vision for how to increase demand for ethanol and break free from the status-quo. Combining ethanol’s high octane and low carbon strengths into a new growth strategy not only allows us to go on offense, it gives our champions in Congress something to be for as the discussion about climate change begins to ramp up in Washington. ACE members have what it takes to make things happen.”
ACE Vice President Ron Lamberty addressed the current market environment and where to see the silver lining with low ethanol prices.
“Some of the biggest gains we’ve made in the history of the U.S. ethanol industry happened during times when we had the lowest prices,” Lamberty said. “This time around, however, with domestic markets barricaded by EPA policy and oil company contract language, low U.S. ethanol prices caught the attention of marketers in other parts of the world and more ethanol was exported from the U.S. than ever before.”
The morning’s opening remarks were followed by a trade keynote address from USGC CEO Ryan LeGrand and two general session panels covering U.S. ethanol market developments in Mexico, as well as how ethanol producers can capitalize on the emerging carbon economy and the opportunities on the horizon.