Valero Energy Corporation has been in the ethanol-related news lately, the nation's largest refiner and now a producer of ethanol at 7 plants purchased from VeraSun Energy. In an August 21st article in the Ft. Dodge, Iowa Messenger, Valero cited the productivity of U.S. corn growers as reason to forget the "food vs. fuel" debate.
"The American farmer continues to increase their productivity," said Bill Day, Director of Media Relations for Valero. "The amount of production they're getting per acre is amazing." These increased yields translate into plenty of corn for both fuel and food, Day told the newspaper.
The Houston Chronicle also covered Valero's ethanol story in an August 24th article, "Oil refining giant finds its raw material in cornfields." Reporter Brett Clanton writes, "Valero's major entry into the renewable fuels business marks a break with a U.S. oil and gas industry that in recent years has rarely missed an opportunity to point out flaws with corn ethanol and government policies that support it."
Another interesting note: Valero CEO Bill Klesse has recently been elected Chairman of the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA), a group that is one of ethanol's harshest critics. How will Valero combine these roles as both ethanol producer and head of the NPRA? Time will tell. Stay tuned...