Dennis McGinn

The former commander of the U.S. Navy’s Third Fleet is in central Iowa today to talk with political and business leaders about the economic and national security benefits of moving to clean energy.

 Retired Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn says Iowa’s already doing a lot of things right as a national leader in the production of corn-based ethanol.

“The continuation of production of biofuels, ethanol, moving toward cellulosic ethanol is the next step in so-called second and third-generation biofuels,” Admiral McGinn says. “I think continued deployment of wind energy is really, really good.” A staunch ethanol supporter, McGinn says every gallon of the renewable fuel that’s made from corn in Iowa is another gallon that won’t have to be purchased and imported from “hostile regimes.”

He says Iowa could put more effort into the area of energy efficiency, both in our homes and businesses. “On the policy front, Iowa legislature putting forward good, enlightened policies that look beyond the next election or the next business quarter to, hey, where does Iowa want to be in terms of our overall energy portfolio and our economic situation in five, ten years?” McGinn says.

“Those are the kinds of things where Iowa can really lead.” He says the business-as-usual mentality is no longer an option, especially when it comes to our nation’s use of petroleum. McGinn says the United States is facing a true challenge with its dependence on fossil fuels, a vexing addiction he says can be overcome.

“It’s not going to be solved in Washington or Wall Street or Detroit or Houston,” McGinn says. “It’s something that we, through our choices as citizens, at the ballot box and through consumers in the store and in our purchasing power, can start moving towards a clean energy economy that will actually increase our quality of life and certainly make us much more healthy and prosperous economically.”

In addition to private meetings today in Iowa with a number of individual policy makers and business executives, McGinn is leading an energy forum at 7 o’clock tonight at Drake University in Des Moines.