WASHINGTON, DC, April 23, 2014 - In small communities across America, renewable fuels are making a big impact, according to a study conducted by John Dunham & Associates and released this week by Fuels America.
Though motorists spend about $1 billion each day on foreign oil, renewable fuels account for 10 percent of the nation’s fuel supply, reducing our reliance on foreign oils to its lowest in years.
How does the use of renewable fuels touch the communities in which ethanol, biodiesel and other renewable fuels are produced – and the nation’s economy as a whole?
The report says the ripple effect of spending due to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is $184.5 billion each year. In addition, the industry supports 852,056 jobs, accounting for $4.6 billion in wages. Tax revenue generated is $14.5 billion annually.
In a Fuels America conference call, Adam Monroe, president of Novozymes – North America, addressed the force of Novozymes’ Blair, Neb. plant on the local economy. More than 400 construction workers had work during the three years it took to build the facility, and the finished operation created 110 new jobs.
The impact extends beyond those employed directly by the plant, though – to suppliers, transportation and more. The overarching impact is four people providing service for every one employed at Novozyme.
John Dunham, president of John Dunham & Associates, said the study is based on “real jobs” – the economic impact of income from corn growing, refining, shipping, even the local fuel station.
Monroe calls the Renewable Fuel Standard a “tremendous success story.”
Larry Ward, senior vice president of commercial development at POET, said POET has 27 biorefineries in 7 states, providing “good-paying, direct jobs” in small rural communities, usually as the largest employer in town.
Jon Doggett, vice president of public policy at the National Corn Growers Association, said the results of the study speak to what’s happening in communities where ethanol is produced.
A benefit not measured in dollars and cents is that of the renewable fuels industry helping to make it possible for young people who grew up with a rural or farm tradition to stay in or return to the communities in which they were raised.
Doggett told of asking members of corn grower groups about the impact of ethanol production in their areas. When he asked farmers how many of them had children who could return to the family farm due to the impact of renewable fuels, 20-30 percent raised their hands.
Sometimes, Doggett said, this may allow a family who has farmed the same land “3, 4, 5 or 6 generations” to keep the farm in the family for another generation.
Ward said POET biorefineries have an impact on the youth in the areas where they are located, building an interest in careers in science and agriculture at the grade school and high school levels and working with community colleges to develop programs related to biofuels. He, too, spoke of the industry’s role in thwarting the exodus of young people from farms and rural communities.
See the full analysis and reports for every state and congressional district on the Fuels America website.
Fuels America also announced this week its new “Oil Rigged” campaign. The campaign and website share how renewable fuel strengthens the economy and communities and lists seven ways Fuels America says Big Oil rigs the system.
In a recent Agri-Pulse audio update, Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis said the oil and gas industry poured $855 million into lobbyists and political campaign contributions in the past five years. To learn more about “Oil Rigged,” listen to our audio update here.
About Fuels America
Fuels America is a coalition of organizations committed to protecting America’s Renewable Fuel Standard and promoting the benefits of all types of renewable fuel already growing in America. Fuels America is founded on a simple core principle: Renewable fuel is good for the U.S. economy, for our nation’s energy security and for the environment.
For more information, go to www.agri-pulse.com.