Ad uses reality TV star to promote RFS

Source: Tiffany Stecker, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A new television ad featuring Chris Soules, a farmer who starred in the ABC reality television series “The Bachelor,” encourages viewers to support the renewable fuel standard.

Ethanol trade group Growth Energy launched the ads this week ahead of a final U.S. EPA rule that will set next year’s course for the biofuels industry. The ad is airing in Iowa, Illinois, Ohio and Indiana.

In a call with reporters this afternoon, Growth Energy co-Chairman and former CEO Tom Buis stressed his industry’s need to maintain the RFS at the same levels set out in the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, which calls on the United States to blend 36 billion gallons of biofuels annually by 2022. EPA has the authority to alter those levels year by year and has lowered required volumes in the past to account for a shortfall in production of low-carbon “advanced” biofuels.

“We don’t think the RFS needs to be reset,” said Buis, referring to a “reset” provision in the law that allows EPA to change the congressional volumes of renewable fuels starting in 2016 if the agency has significantly reduced the mandates in the past. “Everyone knows we have the steel in the ground to meet those investments.”

Soules pointed to the recent terrorist attacks in Paris as a reason to maintain a strong RFS. Proponents of the policy have touted ethanol as a domestic alternative to imported Middle Eastern oil.

“We need to be able to secure our energy supply and maintain that security,” said Soules, who appeared on season 19 of “The Bachelor” and season 20 of “Dancing with the Stars,” which aired earlier this year.

Supporters of the RFS and opponents — led by the oil industry and including some environmental, livestock and food industry groups — have waged a back-and-forth ad war on the policy ahead of EPA’s finalization of the rule, which will set volume requirements for 2014, 2015 and 2016, and coincides with the opening of a major U.N. climate conference in Paris.

Under a legal settlement, EPA must issue the rule by Nov. 30