Anti-ethanol group expands national ad buy

Source: By Devin Henry, The Hill • Posted: Thursday, November 12, 2015

A group opposing the federal ethanol mandate has extended its advertising campaign against the rule into several corn-growing states.

The American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF), a D.C.-based free market group, is hitting the airwaves in Indiana on Tuesday with an ad warning about the environmental effects of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

The ad warns about ethanol fuel’s greenhouse gas emissions and the mandate’s impact on food prices. It quotes former Vice President Al Gore, an environmental advocate who backed off his support for the ethanol rule several years ago.

“After a decade of the government mandating ever-increasing volumes of corn ethanol blended in the nation’s fuel supply, the results are crystal clear: high volumes of corn ethanol worsen the environment, can cause severe engine damage, and hurt consumers wallets,” ACCF Vice President David Banks said in a statement.

The group’s Indiana ad buy is an extension of its multi-million dollar national campaign, which began running in Ohio, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Washington, D.C., last week. It’s notable that the group is working against the RFS in Ohio and Indiana, given that both states are in the top 10 nationally in ethanol production.

Public campaigns around the ethanol mandate have ramped up in advance of the federal government’s Nov. 30 deadline to finalize three years of RFS requirements. The White House is conducting its final review of the new standards now.

Oil groups and some environmentalists have teamed up against the rule, arguing, as ACCF does, that the mandate is hard on combustion engines, raises fuel prices and actually has a negative impact on the environment.

Mandate backers dispute those claims and note that the RFS has bolstered the American ethanol industry and helped the environment by reducing carbon emissions from the transportation sector.

Groups on both sides of the issue are running ads in Washington, D.C., and have released polling and economic and environmental reports on the effects of the rule.