Letter: Public still supports alternative energy.

Anne Steckel
The Daily Times

Marita Noon's recent column ("It is a bad time to be in the renewable energy industry", April 29) was correct in suggesting opponents of renewable fuels like wind power and biodiesel are making it a challenging public policy environment. However, the public has continued to demonstrate its support for alternative energy and policies, like the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), that support their growth.

In fact, the RFS was created by a bipartisan coalition in Congress that recognized it is paramount to America's national security, economic and environmental interests to move away from a singular reliance on petroleum for our transportation fuel needs. The first phase of the program was about corn ethanol -- diversifying our gasoline pool with some 15 billion gallons of American-made biofuel.

The second phase, however, kicking in over the past few years and continuing until 2022, is aimed at boosting other alternatives. It has helped biodiesel -- made in communities across the country from recycled cooking oil, animal fats and agricultural oils -- grow from a niche fuel into a billion-gallon-per-year, commercial-scale industry.

And the RFS is working. We're importing less oil than at any time since 1991. In the last year the EPA set biodiesel volume requirements, independent analysis by economist Philip Verleger found the RFS saved consumers as much as $2.6 billion. And, yes, advanced biofuels like biodiesel are reducing carbon pollution by as much as 86 percent compared to petroleum diesel.

If we're ever going to break America's addiction to oil, we have to start by diversifying our transportation fuels mix. Let's start by encouraging the EPA to provide strong growth for biodiesel in 2015 and beyond under the RFS.