There’s an old Chinese proverb that’s also considered a curse: “May you live in interesting times.” This morning, members of the Growth Energy Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C. heard that from Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, as he explained how it’s “interesting” that Congress seems to have its priorities turned around, with lawmakers working to change Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) while doing nothing to pass a farm bill.
“We believe (the RFS) is working,” said Vilsack, pointing to the EPA already making adjustments to reflect market conditions. “That’s the way it’s supposed to work. There’s no need for Congress to intervene in this.”
Vilsack says, in his opinion, the oil companies are behind the efforts to derail the RFS, mostly because they need the octane they get from ethanol but want to pay pennies on the dollar to get it. “What they (Big Oil) would really like to happen is for this industry (ethanol) not to succeed, so all those production facilities could be made available for 10 cents on the dollar. That’s what Big Oil’s interest is.”
Vilsack made the tie between the showdown with Syria, the RFS and the farm bill, as he looked at Gen. Wesley Clark, former NATO commander and Growth Energy co-chairman. “When and if Congress makes a decision to authorize military action, when and if the President implements that decision, who is going to implement it? It’s going to be a kid from rural America,” pointing out that rural Americans make up only 16 percent of America’s population but 40 percent of our military.
Vilsack urged Growth Energy members to send a strong message to Congress this week. “When you go and talk to your members of Congress to support the RFS, an additional message is, ‘We’ve been waiting a long time for the farm bill; don’t be sending our young men and women into harm’s way and not give them a decent opportunity back home. Get your work done.'”
Listen to Sec. Vilsack’s full address to Growth Energy here: Ag Sec. Tom Vilsack Address to Growth Energy