Ernst welcomes generals' support for renewable fuels

Cedar Rapids Gazette   ·   Link to Article

CEDAR RAPIDS — Sen. Joni Ernst welcomed the support of a trio of retired generals who are in Iowa this week to express their support for the Renewable Fuel Standard, a federal mandate that the nation’s fuel supply contain a certain percentage of corn-based ethanol.

“I am glad to have those former generals joining in the call to use renewables,” the Iowa Republican told reporters on a conference call Thursday while the trio was in Cedar Rapids encouraging Iowans to express their support for the standard and to press presidential candidates to commit to supporting greater use of renewables.

At a news conference at the downtown Cedar Rapids Public Library, Wesley Clark, a four-star U.S. Army general and NATO Supreme Allied Commander who ran for president as a Democrat in 2004, Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton and Brig. Gen. Steven Anderson — all retired — said less the U.S. relies on foreign oil, the less the country will have to involve itself in foreign entanglements involving oil-rich countries.

The EPA is in the process of setting new volume standards for renewable fuel use as part of the Renewable Fuel Standard that was established by Congress during the George W. Bush administration.

Unfortunately, Ernst said, “I think the EPA is going to do what the EPA is going to do.”

“We do continue to push this issue from our legislative standpoint,” said Ernst, a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa National Guard. “We do want the EPA to follow congressional intent.”

Ernst, a first-term senator, believes there is considerable support for maintaining or raising the volume standards.

“I am thankful we have former military members who are coming forward,” she said. “They believe in energy independence for the United States.”

Based on their experience, the generals said America’s dependence on oil puts members of the military at risk.

However, many Republicans don’t seem to understand that the issue isn’t finding sources of cheaper oil, but weaning the country from an oil addiction, Anderson said.

Ernst promised to “continue to push very hard to make sure that there are high levels of renewable fuels,” she said. “I am glad to have those former general joining in with the call to use renewables here in the United States.”

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