Ethanol critic takes the helm at anti-poverty group

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, March 8, 2013

Anti-poverty group ActionAid USA has promoted a vocal critic of ethanol to the position of executive director.

Marie Brill, who previously served as a senior policy analyst for the group, was appointed Tuesday, ActionAid announced today.

“Brill has exhibited the leadership, passion and vision to take ActionAid USA to the next essential level — working with over 40 ActionAid federation members and country programs — to eradicate global poverty,” board Chairman Luis Guardia said in a statement.

Brill has worked for more than 15 years in international development and social policy, according to ActionAid, and has spent 12 years living in developing nations. She joined ActionAid’s staff in 2010 and has served as senior policy analyst, director of policy and campaigns, and interim executive director.

Over the past several years, Brill has been a vocal critic of corn ethanol, which ActionAid has linked to the global food crisis and social unrest in developing countries. U.S. ethanol policy — namely, the renewable fuel standard — is driving indirect land-use changes in developing countries, ActionAid argues. The group also questions the greenhouse gas reduction benefits of ethanol production.

Before joining ActionAid, Brill was the deputy director at Africa Action, a U.S.-based human rights organization. She has also served as the executive director of the Jubilee USA Network and a co-director of Quest for Peace at the Quixote Center.