With the lame-duck Congress back in session and a potential showdown brewing over ethanol policy, we knew this week offered a critical window of opportunity to send lawmakers the strongest message yet to end the $6 billion dollar per year subsidy handouts and finally stop blocking cleaner, more affordable alternative energy options like sugarcane ethanol from Brazil.
We knew consumers were frustrated by wasteful spending, endless partisan gridlock and rising gas prices - but we were still blown away by the veritable storm of activity since the launch of our Day of Action earlier this week. Thousands of Americans made their voice heard - with calls to end the $6 billion per year subsidy and trade protection coming from every state in the union, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
The numbers continue to climb, but here's a current tally of all the advocacy we've seen just this week:
- More than 25,000 letters and e-mails sent to Congress - bringing the yearly total to over 80,000
- More than 6,000 new signatures to our petition calling for an end to the ethanol tariff and subsidies
- 270 letters sent to newspapers across the country and many are being published
With just a few days left on the legislative calendar, clean energy advocates capitalized on this climactic chance to change the game on ethanol policy. They joined an ever growing chorus of critics that includes environmental groups, food producers, agricultural interests, anti-hunger advocates, taxpayer organizations, federal and state government, and representatives from both sides of the aisle.
The momentum will undoubtedly give pause to those in Congress who defend the status quo - and it will embolden those who champion reform so Americans gain greater access to cleaner, more affordable energy. But it won't be over 'til it's over and Congress makes a final decision this year. So we'll continue to raise a little cane when the lame-duck resumes after Thanksgiving. When the clock runs out, Americans will hopefully enjoy the economic, environmental and energy security benefits of sugarcane ethanol at last.
Follow Joel Velasco on Twitter: www.twitter.com/caneethanol