AgConnect has brought ag equipment manufacturers, dealers, producers and a retired Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO together. That’s right, Retired Army General Wesley Clark was at AgConnect, the big equipment and technology expo, talking about national security this past weekend.
More specifically, Clark talked about how ethanol is tied to America’s wellbeing. Clark spoke from the Case IH exhibit at AgConnect on Saturday in Atlanta, GA.
Every month, the U.S. imports between $25 billion and $30 billion worth of oil. And every month, that money is sent to many countries that oppose U.S. policies.
Clark told farmers and dealers that in 1973 at the height of the Energy Crisis, he wrote a paper predicting that the U.S. would eventually go to war to safeguard its oil imports. The U.S. later fought in the Gulf War and Iraq for oil, he said. Since then, a lot of money supporting terrorism has originated from “America’s appetite for oil,” Clark added.
“If you want to fix America, work to keep us from importing $300 billion to $400 billion worth of oil every year,” Clark said. If the U.S. could save $300 billion per year, that could translate to as many as eight million jobs with an average annual salary of $38,000, he added.
“We need your voice,” Clark told the audience. Clark, who serves as co-chairman of Growth Energy (www.growthenergy.org) , an ethanol lobbying group, encouraged producers to contact their local and state governments, asking them to purchase flex fuel vehicles (FFV) and to also ask automobile manufacturers why they aren’t making every vehicle an FFV. The automakers do this in Brazil, why not the U.S.?
To put ethanol on a level playing field with fossil fuels, the U.S. needs to improve its infrastructure—including adding more blender pumps at retail stations across the country. Last July, Growth Energy launched the “Fueling Freedom Plan,” which calls for phasing out ethanol supports and redirecting those funds to improve the infrastructure in the form of blender pumps and FFVs.
Clark suggested that the American public might be more open to ethanol if they knew where the fuel they were buying came from. This would come in the form of Country of Origin labeling.
Improving the infrastructure for ethanol is about national security. “We need to move to the next level, and we have the entrepreneurship, the technology and the skills to do it,” Clark said.
Americans could help improve national security by supporting domestically-produced ethanol and supporting infrastructure improvements that would put ethanol on a more even playing field with fossil fuels.