IARN –Roughly half of ethanol production remains offline.
The current situation is “heartbreaking,” as the biofuels industry was “built by farmers, for farmers,” says Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy.
Ethanol production currently sits at 8.5 billion gallons compared to 16 billion gallons at this time last year. “We have never seen demand fall this far, or fast,” according to Skor. She predicts things to be a little different on the other side of COVID-19.
“It’s hard to (predict) who’s going to be able to keep their doors open and whose doors may stay shut. There are some plants that may not come back,” Skor said. “What we’re focused on is helping our plants and the members we represent remain operational through the worst of this crisis, and then look at what we can do to stimulate that recovery.”
Recovery efforts will “require patchwork” and “move gradually,” says Skor. Meanwhile, Growth Energy will lobby for regulatory certainty and expanded access for higher blends.
“It was a missed opportunity, we feel, for the USDA to not include biofuel producers in their 19-billion-dollars of relief. Conversations are continuing on the Congressional side, (in) talking to members of Congress as they contemplate Phase Four. We know there are a lot of conversations federally about boosting the energy sector. It’s important, if you’re taking steps to boost the energy sector and the oil industry, you have to make sure you’re applying things for biofuel plants as well,” Skor said.
Growth Energy this week applauded Representative Abby Finkenauer (D-IA 1st District) and Angie Craig (D-MN 2nd District) for introducing the Clean Fuels Deployment Act.
“That’s introducing 500-million-dollars in biofuel infrastructure funding from the federal government,” Skor said. “It’s nice to see that because that’s the kind of thing we need to address the next wave of growth that will revitalize our communities on the other side of this crisis.”
Story courtesy of the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network.