Tag Archives: Nebraska

Long-Time Ethanol Board Administrator to Retire

Todd Sneller, Outgoing NEB Administrator
Sarah Thornton Caswell, Upcoming NEB Administrator

LINCOLN, Neb. – Todd Sneller, administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board, will retire Sept. 14 after more than 40 years of service with the state of Nebraska.

Sneller started his career in 1976 as a staff assistant with the Agriculture Products Industrial Utilization Committee, now the Nebraska Ethanol Board. He left for a brief period from 1978 to spring 1979 to work as a business development consultant for the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. In May 1979, the Nebraska Ethanol Board recruited him to serve as their administrator, a role he has held ever since.

“It has been my privilege to work with a host of forward-looking policymakers at the state and national level during my career,” Sneller said. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with top business leaders during the process of developing a new economic sector in the state.”

Starting his administrator career when the U.S. faced the third serious oil supply shortage of the 1970s, Sneller engaged in advancing ethanol from a concept to a partial replacement of fossil fuels. The U.S. gasoline supply now contains more than 10 percent ethanol and Nebraska ranks No. 2 nationally in ethanol production. The state has 25 plants with an annual production capacity of 2.5 billion gallons of ethanol.

“Nebraska’s ethanol industry generates more than $5 billion annually,” Sneller said. “That economic impact in concert with the corn, livestock and bio-products sectors plays a significant role in the economy of Nebraska and in agriculture specifically. Perhaps most importantly, ethanol plants greatly contribute to the economic health of the Nebraska counties where they reside.”

The Nebraska Ethanol Board selected Sarah Thornton Caswell of Omaha as the next administrator. Caswell has extensive experience in the bio-industry sector and recently served as vice president of Government and Regulatory Affairs for Edeniq, a technology firm serving the biofuels industry. Caswell earned her juris doctor from American University’s Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C., and is a member of the Illinois Bar. She will assume the role of board administrator Sept. 17.

“Todd’s contributions to ethanol development extend beyond Nebraska, but his dedicated efforts in the state have helped create a new economic sector,” said Jan tenBensel, Nebraska Ethanol Board chairman. “We are pleased to have Sarah Caswell take the reins as the Board continues to advance into bio-products created from the ethanol platform.”

Established in 1971, the Ethanol Board assists ethanol producers with programs and strategies for marketing ethanol and related co-products. The Board supports organizations and policies that advocate the increased use of ethanol fuels – and administers public information, education and ethanol research projects. The Board also assists companies and organizations in the development of ethanol production facilities in Nebraska. For more information, please visit www.ethanol.nebraska.gov.

American Ethanol License Plate Frames Available

Ethanol enthusiasts have the opportunity to display their pride on their vehicle with a specialty license plate frame highlighting the importance of ethanol in Nebraska’s agriculture industry.

The Nebraska Ethanol Board is giving away 250 license plate frames through Feb. 29. Please limit requests to no more than five frames per household.License_Plate_Frame_

If you’re interested in a license plate frame, contact Megan Grimes at 402-471-2941 or by email at megan.grimes@nebraska.gov.

Nebraska is the second largest ethanol producer in the country; and recent research by University of Nebraska-Lincoln economists reveals Nebraska’s ethanol production value is approximately $5 billion.

GBC Welcomes Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts to the Coalition’s 2016 Leadership Team


The Coalition announced today that Missouri Governor Jay Nixon will become chairman and Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts will become vice chairman of Governors’ Biofuels Coalition this year.governors_biofuels_coalition__hi_res_logo

“For more than 20 years, the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition has worked in a bipartisan way to strengthen American energy independence and create jobs in rural communities,” Governor Nixon said. “I look forward to working with Governor Ricketts to promote the production and use of biofuels because, in addition to diversifying our energy portfolio, they also give consumers more choices at the pump, reduce harmful emissions, and increase family incomes in rural America. I thank Governor Branstad for his outstanding leadership, and I look forward to building on his success.”

Now that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued its final biofuel blending rule, the Coalition will continue to advocate for policies that grow the biofuel industry such as, proposing legislation that will encourage investment in the nation’s advanced biofuel industry; asking EPA to enforce Section 202 of the Clean Air Act to limit aromatics and open the market for ethanol as a source of clean octane; dropping the obsolete vapor pressure restrictions on higher ethanol blends; and restoring the fuel economy credits (CAFE).

“I’m honored to serve as the next vice chairman of this organization, and will continue working to strengthen the energy independence of Nebraska and our country. Nebraska was one of the founding members of the Coalition, and the Coalition continues to play a major role in our nation’s energy policies, including the renewable fuel standard,” Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts said.

Governor Nixon and Governor Ricketts both thanked Iowa Governor Terry Branstad for not only his leadership of the Coalition last year but for his tireless national leadership on renewable energy policy, and making Iowa a model of renewable energy development for all our states.

For over 20 years, the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition has provided regional and national leadership on biofuels policy development. The bipartisan Coalition is comprised governors from across the nation. The governors share a concern that the nation’s dependence on imported petroleum is both economically and environmentally unsustainable, and presents an unacceptable risk to our national security.  The Coalition’s policy activities address all aspects of biofuels development and use.  For more information, visit www.GovernorsBiofuelsCoalition.org.

World-Herald Editorial: EPA Relents on Ethanol but Still Falls Short

The following Omaha World-Herald editorial is reposted from it’s original release Dec. 2, 2015.

A new EPA rule requires that more than 18 billion gallons of renewable fuel be blended into U.S. gasoline in 2016.

That means Americans will wind up using more ethanol and biodiesel made in the Midlands. It’s better-than-expected news for the nation’s top two ethanol producing states, Iowa and Nebraska.

But it’s not good enough. While the EPA’s 18-billion-gallon goal is an increase from what the agency first suggested in June, it’s still more than 4 billion gallons short of mandates Congress set in a 2007 law.

At least the EPA is requiring more renewable fuel than it originally proposed, although that’s little comfort to an ethanol industry that contributes almost $5 billion a year to Nebraska’s economy. Or to the industry’s investors and innovators, who see the goal posts shifting.

EPA officials say they used a lever in the law allowing them to reduce required amounts of renewable fuel when the targets didn’t prove realistic. They say the nation’s fuel supply has nearly reached the limit of how much corn-based ethanol can safely be used by the majority of vehicles.

The agency blames production and technological delays in the development of many next-generation biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol. But bureaucratic fiddling with fuel requirements bears responsibility for that situation, too. The unnecessary uncertainty has held up as much as $19 billion in potential investments in these new, more advanced fuels, the agricultural news service DTN reports.

President Barack Obama has said he wants to reduce our dependence on oil from those who seek to do us harm. But some of his actions contradict that, denying a pipeline from Canada and now throttling back the renewable fuel standard.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, got it right when he said, “It’s unfortunate that this administration, which claims to be for renewable and clean energy, would stand in the way of the production and use of more renewable fuels.”

Nobody got all they wanted out of the EPA’s new renewable fuels rule, not the oil companies in their odd alignment with some environmentalists and not Midwestern farmers.

Courts may have to settle the differences. Farmers and agricultural industry groups talked Monday of suing the Environmental Protection Agency for moving beyond its legal, statutory boundaries.

It’s reminiscent of the EPA’s “waters of the U.S.” regulatory overreach, which landed the agency in court this fall.

Congress writes the laws. The EPA should follow them.

Grimes Honored by State of Nebraska

LINCOLN, Neb. – Megan Grimes was recently honored by the State of Nebraska for her dedication and expertise as public relations coordinator for the Nebraska Ethanol Board.Gov_Pete_Ricketts_and_Megan_Grimes_Nebraska_Ethanol_Board

In a special ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda, Grimes was recognized Oct. 29 as Employee of the Year for Nebraska’s State Employee Recognition Month.

Employees and supervisors/managers were honored for their outstanding achievement at the 2015 Governor’s Employee and Supervisor/Manager of the Year ceremony and awarded with a special plaque. She was also admitted as an admiral to The Great Navy of the State of Nebraska.

“Megan is an exemplary example of a young person with a strong work ethic, effective communication skills and the ability to implement projects on time and on budget,” said Todd Sneller, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator.

As public relations coordinator, Grimes is an information liaison working with media representatives, governmental/program officials and interested citizen groups to communicate Nebraska Ethanol Board’s goals and activities. In addition, she manages public education and social media outreach.

“Megan has excellent project management skills and has illustrated her creative capabilities while designing a variety of marketing and educational projects,” Sneller said. “She works especially well with students of all ages and is particularly adept at social media, a key component of our consumer outreach strategy.”

Grimes is a 2007 graduate of Valentine Rural High School and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 2011. She and her husband, Mark, live in Lincoln.

Since 1985, the State of Nebraska has sponsored a statewide recognition program where the governor honored state employees for outstanding achievements and dedication to state service. The Employee of the Year program recognizes employees whose job performance has exceeded the highest standards and contributed to the overall effectiveness of the agency.