Letters to the Editor

Koehler letter: Renewable energy

In his May 12 column, Ed Lotterman included U.S. renewable energy goals among a laundry list of government policies he would put on the chopping block. As an Idaho employer, I disagree.

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has played a vital role in protecting the environment and American consumers. Without it, oil companies would once again have free rein to limit choices at the pump, eliminating competition from homegrown biofuels, like ethanol. Biofuel blends have saved drivers anywhere from $.50 to $1.50 per gallon and dramatically reduced the ability of foreign nations to manipulate U.S. energy costs.

In fact, Pacific Ethanol’s biorefinery in Magic Valley produces enough fuel to meet a full 10 percent of Idaho’s transportation needs. Nationwide, our industry supports over 852,000 American jobs.

Ethanol also increases octane for better performance and cuts carbon emissions by an average of 43 percent. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, those benefits continue to rise because farmers are growing more crops on less land each and every year. None of this would be possible without smart policies like the RFS, which has been a key driving force for innovation and competition since 2005.

Neil Koehler, CEO of Pacific Ethanol Inc.