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Orlando Sentinel: Mike Murtha, Feds must follow Fla. on ethanol repeal

Monday, September 28, 2015

Florida was the first of two states to repeal a state mandate requiring ethanol to be blended into fuel, but our economy is still being held hostage by a federal ethanol mandate requiring increasing amounts of corn ethanol to be blended into gasoline.

In 2013, the Florida Senate voted in favor of Senate Bill 320, which repealed the Florida Renewable Fuel Standard Act. Hawaii has since followed suit, and Pennsylvania is considering its own measure. Florida’s policymakers were the first to recognize that small businesses are the bedrock of the state’s economy, and they were struggling to pay the climbing fuel costs created by this mandate.

Our states, unfortunately, must continue to comply with the federal law. Despite growing state momentum to abolish ethanol mandates, Congress has not heeded the call on the federal level, and presidential candidates continue to support it.

Repealing Florida’s state ethanol mandate was a significant step in the right direction. Nevertheless, to create a more prosperous and healthy future for our state, we must now discuss how to end this mandate nationally.

As Florida’s business leaders, industry experts and elected officials meet this week in Orlando at the Future of Florida Forum, they need to call on the federal government to follow our state’s lead and end the federal ethanol mandate. This ill-conceived policy is preventing our residents and industries from securing Florida’s future.

Ethanol-blended gasoline contains less energy than pure gasoline. This means more trips to the pump alongside higher gas prices. Compensating for the increased cost of transportation and engine damage is not financially feasible for many of Florida’s small businesses. This is especially true for members of Florida’s Concrete and Products Association. These member companies rely on engines and gasoline to travel, conduct business and produce materials that build infrastructure.

We are grateful that Florida’s former Gov. Jeb Bush is calling for the renewable fuel standards to be phased out. It is imperative that our next president understands the damaging effects of the ethanol mandate. Florida’s local policymakers have already taken a stand, and now it is time for all of our state’s leaders to push our 2016 presidential candidates to address this failed federal mandate.


Mike Murtha is president of the Florida Concrete and Products Association

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