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National USDA Official Highlights Biofuels Investments in Colorado

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U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini on Monday highlighted the USDA’s recent biofuel-infrastructure investments in Colorado during a stop in Greeley.

Joined by Colorado Agriculture Commissioner Don Brown and Colorado Corn Chief Executive Officer Mark Sponsler, Dolcini explained that Colorado is one of 21 states that received grant dollars through the USDA’s Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) program – a nationwide investment of $210 million that will add the infrastructure needed to supply more renewable fuels to America’s drivers.

“BIP represents – from the perspective of the Obama Administration – really an all-of-the-above strategy, when it comes to national energy policy,” Dolcini said during a press conference on Monday. “We’ve done a lot of good work in this nation over the last number of years to develop our own energy – natural gas and oil – but we’re also really looking to the future, to see what the next stage in our energy development as a nation will be. And I think – as does the Department of Agriculture – that biofuels are really what that’s all about.”

Through the BIP program, the USDA awarded $600,000 to the Colorado Department of Agriculture, which – with matching funds from various partners – will add another 84 biofuel pumps at 17 stations throughout the state.

Coupled with the existing 101 stations in Colorado that sell E-85 (a fuel blend of 85 percent ethanol, 15 percent gasoline), this investment will give drivers more fuel choices at the pump. A typical gas pump delivers fuel with 10 percent ethanol (E10), which limits the amount of renewable energy that consumers can purchase.

The new partnership will increase the number of pumps, storage and related infrastructure that offer higher blends of ethanol, such as E15, E85, and even intermediate combination blends. The matching contributions may also be used for related costs, such as education, data collection and program evaluation.

Nationwide, this partnership will expand markets for farmers, support rural economic growth and the jobs that come with it. USDA estimates that BIP grants all together will support nearly 5,000 pumps at over 1,400 fueling stations. For more information about the BIP program, please visit www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/energy-programs/bip/index.

“This is definitely a big deal for corn producers, but we absolutely see it as a much bigger issue,” Sponsler said during the press conference, referring to the perspective of the state’s corn farmers. “As (U.S. Agriculture) Secretary (Tom) Vilsack frequently points out, this is about energy independence. The farmers that I represent are absolutely proud to be building the foundation for something that’s much bigger than corn.”

Sponsler went on to add that “this is why the USDA’s commitment – as is evidenced by this program – is so profoundly important. While we have so many naysayers out there – so many who maybe have investments in the status-quo, who would like to see our energy base stay the same – we really have to move forward past that.”

Why are higher blends of ethanol so beneficial?

REDUCED EMISSIONS – In 2015, ethanol was credited with lowering our nation’s CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions from transportation by 41.2 million metric tons – the equivalent of removing 8.7 million cars from the road.

IMPROVING YOUR HEALTH – Biofuels displace other cancer-causing gasoline additives, like benzene, which is the same chemical found in cigarette smoke.

REDUCED IMPORTED OIL – With 14.8 billion gallons of domestic ethanol used in the U.S. in 2015, our net import oil dependence was lowered to 25 percent, but otherwise would have been 32 percent.

ECONOMIC IMPACT – In 2015, ethanol supported 85,967 direct jobs, added $44 billion to our GDP, and increased household income by $24 billion, much of which took place in our nation’s rural areas.

LOWERING FUEL PRICES AT THE PUMP – The increase in overall fuel supplies with domestically produced ethanol being blended with gasoline helps lower gas prices at the pump, by anywhere from $0.50-$1.50 per gallon.

POSITIVE ENERGY BALANCE – One unit of energy invested in the corn ethanol production process results in 2.3 units of usable energy in the form of ethanol.

AND THERE’S ENOUGH CORN TO GO AROUND – Today’s efficient farmers ensure adequate supplies of corn are available for use in food, biofuels and other purposes, while also carrying over 1.5 to 2.5 billion bushels annually.

Filed Under: AgricultureConsumer IssuesCountyEconomyMedia Release

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