Official: Oil industry attacking ethanol
By Robert Pore, The Independent
With much of Nebraska's recent prosperity tied directly to the ethanol industry and the subsequent increase in corn prices that resulted from that, Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, recently warned that there are those "that are quite comfortable with our use of oil and want to see cheap corn" mounting a "full assault" on the policies that made ethanol 10 percent of the nation's fuel supply.
Dinneen focused on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the march toward E15 ethanol blends that are under heavy criticism, especially as oil supplies are stocking up, driving prices down because of such factors as the economic recession, better fuel efficiency and the growing use of ethanol as a renewable fuel alternative.
"The RFS is under attack in
Dinneen was referring to the reported efforts of Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., and Sen. Christopher Coons, D-Dela., to "reform" the RFS. Speaking to the National Journal on this issue, Inhofe made his intentions clear, stating, "I've had problems with ethanol for as long as I can remember, and I'm going to be doing what I can to relieve that and do away with the mandate, actually."
Dinneen said he was confident that ethanol could stand up to the scrutiny provided that oil and other fuels are given equal and honest examination as well.
"If you are going to do a seed-to-wheels' analysis of ethanol, that is fair enough. How about the war-to-wheels analysis of oil? We need to put this debate back into perspective," Dinneen said.
According to the RFA, the Senate effort led by Inhofe and Coons is occurring at the same time a familiar group of industry lobbyists are preparing a multimillion-dollar, multiyear campaign to eliminate the RFS. This group reportedly includes lobbyists for the American Petroleum Institute, Grocery Manufacturers Association, and National Chicken Council, along with environmental activists such as Friends of the Earth.
"We will not be misled, nor will we allow the American people to be misled by their misinformation," Dinneen said. "We are going to come together, we are going to defend the RFS, we are going to ensure that this industry continues to grow and evolve because of the innovation that you will show at the plant and because of the passion that we will bring to Washington, D.C., to remind them of the importance of this industry, the importance of the RFS and the importance of the continued evolution of this industry."
Dinneen said the oil industry will do everything possible to stop E15 from becoming a reality.
"It's going to be up to all of us to explain to people how E15 can't hurt your radiator and how one fillup can't hurt your fuel pump. Brace yourselves. It will be brutal. We are going to have to be vigilant for when this occurs," he said.
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