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South Dakota Veterans Promote "Drive" for Energy Independence

February 4, 2008

Pierre, SD – South Dakota veterans are fighting a new battle this week, a campaign to reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil. Members of the South Dakota Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) are joining forces with the South Dakota Farmers Union tomorrow to call for increasing the use of alternative fuels. They're making the trip to their annual conference in Pierre using a 35 percent blend of ethanol in their vehicles.

Orrie Swayze, chairman of the VFW's Energy Committee, explains the "Support Our Troops Energy Drive" is meant to educate legislators and other South Dakotans about the need to use ethanol as a means to cut America's dependence on oil imports.

"In this country we can easily use our own fuel and take the targets off the backs of our troops overseas. As a veteran, I really get quite cynical with all the yellow ribbons and mere lip service. It's time we do something, and that's part of what this drive for energy independence is about. It's not illegal to put fuel that is made in the U.S.A. and is cleaner-burning in your car."

Jason Madsen, with the South Dakota Farmers Union, says a recent study by the American Coalition for Ethanol shows that mid-level blends, such as E-20 and E-30, can be safely used in non-flex-fuel vehicles with no adverse affects; and that mid-level blends may provide better fuel economy than E-10, E-85 or unblended gasoline.

"There's no better market than the one opening up right here in our state. We're in the Middle East due to a policy based upon oil -- nothing else. This can open up opportunities here to have our troops stateside and I see it as a win-win for our state."

Swayze credits the South Dakota VFW branch for having the courage to point out the real cost of imported oil, and for promoting more ethanol "blender pumps" at service stations to help grow the alternative fuels industry in the Midwest.

David Law/John Robinson, Public News Service - SD