Letter: Supporting Ethanol is Important

Driving through rural communities in recent weeks, it has been hard to miss the sight of farmers out in their fields harvesting their crops. This process not only helps feed the world, but increasingly it’s helping fuel the world. Today, the ethanol industry purchases more than half of all the corn produced in the state, meaning the economic well being of farmers and ethanol producers are very much tied together.

Ethanol supports 350,000 jobs nationally, including tens of thousands in Iowa. Ensuring the long-term viability of this industry is critical not only to maintain these jobs, but to the thousands of corn growers across Iowa who count on this marketplace. As a result, it is important to take the steps necessary to ensure ethanol remains strong in the years to come, so that our ag economy remains strong as well.

Carbon capture and storage, such as the project Summit Carbon Solutions has proposed, can help achieve this goal. This substantial private sector investment will help ethanol plants continue to reduce the carbon intensity of their product, which will open new marketplaces that have adopted low carbon fuel standards. These markets purchase low carbon fuel sources at a premium, meaning there are huge economic benefits available to ethanol producers who have joined this project and the corn growers who sell their crops to these local plants. But that assumes that this project is approved and moves forward. For the long-term growth of our ag economy, I certainly hope that it does.

Greg Popkes, Rock Rapids, Iowa

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