Congress must retain renewable fuel standard

America is the world’s top producer and exporter of biofuels.

Published on September 7, 2017 3:37PM

Last changed on September 7, 2017 4:04PM


The devastating impacts of climate change in our state, country and world are a stark reminder that continued reliance on fossil fuels is not an option. Public transportation is great. Electric vehicles are fantastic. But those options are not viable or affordable for every individual, business or family. Those of us who live in more rural parts of Washington County, Ore., away from the MAX and WES, know this better than most.

Gasoline-powered cars will continue to dominate the roads for the foreseeable future, so it’s critical that we embrace solutions that can cut emissions from vehicles on the road today.

Thankfully, America is the world’s top producer and exporter of biofuels. We have vast renewable resources and the capacity to replace millions of gallons of imported oil with clean, homegrown biofuels like ethanol. That’s the goal behind America Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), a law that have been working for over 11 years to grow the market for biofuels.

Our Cornelius-based company, Summit Natural Energy, has demonstrated the success of the RFS, which incentivizes low-carbon fuels and innovation. We produce pure, clean-burning ethanol distilled from food processing and agricultural waste byproducts, the stuff that is not fit for human consumption. Better yet, once this biomass byproduct has been distilled, the remaining fiber can be used as livestock feed.

The ethanol we produce costs less than petroleum-based fuel, promoting competition at the gas pump, and it is cleaner — helping to cut down on cancer-causing toxins and smog-forming pollutants in our air.

Despite the economic and environmental benefits of the RFS, oil companies are pushing Congress to undercut the law and remove the alternative fuel polices that help businesses like ours offer consumers a better choice at the gas pump that can combat global warming.

We do not have oil refineries here in Oregon. We do have a robust alternative fuels sector and thousands of fruit growers, food processors, farmers and timber operations who can contribute to the next generation of clean fuels. Congress must not buckle to oil industry pressure. The result would be a major step back for our climate and for our economy.

Currently, the RFS remains the single most successful clean energy policy working to keep our air clean. Summit Energy is proud of the role we play in helping develop alternative fuels and we are proud of the role we play in our local economy. Now is the time to embrace alternative fuels, not move away from them, and I hope that fact is appreciated by our Oregon leaders.

Mark Smith

Cornelius, Ore.



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