Remove ethanol restrictions

President Donald Trump recently announced that he may soon cut the red tape that has prevented gas stations from offering E15 fuel, with 15 percent ethanol, during the summer months. Rolling back this regulation will give consumers a cleaner, lower-cost option during road trip season. It also creates a valuable market for biofuels, making good on the president’s pledge to farm families.

The rural economy in America has been neglected for too long by lawmakers, and farmers are dealing with a historic plunge in commodity prices. Thankfully, biofuels have been an economic anchor, supplying jobs to thousands of Midwest workers and creating a vital revenue stream for farmers who sell the crops to local biofuel plants that transform it into ethanol.

Expanded sales of E15 is great news for Michigan, but it still faces a major hurdle in Washington, where the Environmental Protection Agency has been working quietly with the oil lobby to undermine biofuels and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

There is little hope for rural growth if farmers are excluded from the energy sector. I urge U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue to make good on President Trump’s plan to lift outdated rules against E15 by pressing for a fix before it’s too late. If not, expect to see one less affordable option at the pump this June.

Phil Gordon
Gordon Valley Farms

Remembering our Polish heroes

Thank you for Neal Rubin’s inspiring article (“Detroit statues worth noticing during July 4 celebrations, July 4, 2018) about two heroes of the American revolution who came from Poland — Thaddeus Kosciuszko and Casimir Pulaski — and explaining why statues of them are prominently displayed in Detroit. 

Both Kosciuszko and Pulaski fought for freedom and independence for the United States against the British, as well as for Poland against the Russians. During this year, when Poland marks its 100th anniversary of finally regaining independence, it is especially fitting to recall the stories of these two great Polish “sons of liberty.”

Their deep commitment to liberty was why they each joined the American cause for independence, hoping to return eventually to Poland to win independence for their fatherland. Unfortunately, Pulaski, who saved George Washington from capture at Brandywine, was killed in the Battle of Savannah in 1779. But Kosciuszko did return to Poland after the Revolutionary War to lead Poland in its own revolution for independence against the occupying Russian Empire. 

Thomas Jefferson, a very close friend of Kosciuszko, famously called him "the truest son of liberty I have ever known." Interestingly, before departing the United States, Kosciuszko valiantly tried to persuade Jefferson, as a fellow son of liberty, that slavery was wrong. In his last will and testament, which Jefferson (at that time serving as vice president) helped Kosciuszko draw up, Kosciuszko bequeathed his Revolutionary War stipend to use to purchase from Jefferson the freedom of Jefferson’s own slaves.

Jefferson initially supported his friend and agreed to be the executor of Kosciuszko’s will. Unfortunately, after Kosciuszko’s death, Jefferson changed his mind and petitioned a Virginia court to name someone else as executor and not to use the money in Kosciuszko’s estate to free his slaves.

In any case, it is great that Detroit honors these two Polish sons of liberty — who came to this land as immigrants to fight for our freedom and to set an example of what true liberty really means.

Richard A. Walawender

Honorary consul, consulate of the Republic of Poland in Detroit

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