The Free Press, Mankato, MN

November 20, 2013

AP ethanol story left out facts

The Mankato Free Press

---- — I write in response to the Associated Press story, “Ethanol pushed farm policy to Environmental Backfire,” that recently ran in your paper.

This story inaccurately portrays an industry that provides jobs and cheaper choices at the pump here in Minnesota. POET Biorefining is located just outside Mankato in Lake Crystal and produces 56 million gallons of ethanol annually. As a member of this community, I wanted to take this opportunity to address some of the story’s inaccuracies.

The AP claims that 5 million acres of land have been removed from the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) since President Obama took office. However, what the story failed to mention is the 2008 Farm Bill that removed funding for roughly 7 million acres of CRP land. According to USDA data, enrolled acres have been near the new cap every year, between 92 percent and 98 percent.

The AP also chose to ignore a peer-reviewed study from the Argonne National Laboratory that states ethanol, on average, reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 34 percent when compared to gasoline. This is only one of numerous studies that demonstrate the environmental benefits of ethanol and the progress the industry has made over the years.

POET believes that conservation is important to both our environment and the agriculture community, but we will not apologize for helping farmers make a profit for the first time in decades. The ethanol industry supports jobs nationwide and has reduced our nation’s dependence on unstable sources of foreign oil by 15 percent. The AP’s smear of the industry is a direct assault on the nation’s farmers who work so hard to bring alternative fuel sources to consumers and more affordable options at the gas pump.

Chris Oehler

General Manager, POET Biorefining

Lake Crystal