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FUEL gives update on energy credits

First United Ethanol LLC, or FUEL, updated key personnel from congressional offices regarding pending legislation that will have a profound effect on the ethanol industry’s ability to continue producing homegrown, clean, renewable fuel.

The session was held on April 27 at its office in Pelham, Ga.

Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House and the Senate to extend the blender’s credit, the 45-cent per gallon tax credit available to blenders of ethanol, and the 54-cent per gallon tariff on imported ethanol, both set to expire at the end of 2010.

The VEETC encourages blenders or oil companies to install the necessary infrastructure to blend and sell ethanol in gasoline. A tariff on imported ethanol is necessary to offset the value of the VEETC tax credit on imported ethanol, FUEL representatives said.

Jamey Crozier from U.S. Sanford Bishop’s office, Debbie Cannon from U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ office, Jody Redding from U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s office and Merritt Myers from U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston’s office attended the event.

FUEL also invited some strategic business partners and supporters who lobby for similar ag-related legislative goals including Georgia Farm Bureau, Georgia Power, Municipal Gas Authority of Georgia and Southwest Georgia Farm Credit.

Tommy Dollar, chairman of the board of directors of FUEL, welcomed everyone to the event and thanked them for their support of FUEL.

Murray Campbell, CEO of FUEL, provided a thorough presentation focusing on FUEL’s accomplishments since its inception and the key legislative issues facing the ethanol industry.

“Our legislators must remember that our government asked rural America to assist in our country’s endeavor to create energy independence,” Campell said. “Many taxpaying citizens throughout rural America invested in ethanol plants, and the federal government should approve legislation that will support the development of infrastructure necessary to distribute home-grown ethanol to American consumers.”

Campbell thanked Bishop for co-sponsoring the current legislation and thanked the American Farm Bureau for its support of the legislation.

Campbell’s presentation included information relating to the importance of approval of E15, a blend of 15 percent ethanol with 85 percent gasoline.

The Environmental Protection Agency is scheduled to rule on a request by late summer to increase the blend rate to 15 percent. He explained that the ethanol industry is currently struggling as it approaches the “blend wall,” which is created by the limitations imposed on the ethanol industry’s ability to blend no more than 10 percent ethanol per gallon of gasoline.

He explained that opposition to higher blends of ethanol is predicated on outdated science. He cited a study from Rochester Institute of Technology dated March 29 proves that E20 blends are just as safe as E10 for all vehicles with no measurable stress on vehicle operations or mechanics.