Ethanol supporters target Washington to promote industry

Source: by Christopher Doering, Des Moines Register • Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2013

As Congress considers legislation to repeal or change the country’s renewable fuel policy, members of the largest ethanol trade group are flocking to Washington this week to promote their industry and rebuke attacks from oil companies they say are trying to quell demand for their product.

Nearly 150 members of Growth Energy are in Washington for three days of meetings with House and Senate lawmakers and members of the Obama administration to talk about the corn-based fuel. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will be addressing the trade group on Tuesday.

We’re here “to get our message out and get the true facts out about renewable fuels. How important the (Renewable Fuel Standard) and higher blends are to our nation, our consumers, our environment, our economy,” Tom Buis, chief executive of Growth Energy, told reporters.

The battle between oil companies and the ethanol industry centers on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), an eight-year-old law that requires refiners to buy alternative fuels made from corn, soybeans and other products in order to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign energy.

To help in their cause, the ethanol industry recently began an ad campaign to inform consumers about the benefits of the corn-based fuel and counter an aggressive push by oil companies to attack the fuel through what the group describes as misleading and inaccurate information

Oil companies, lead by the American Petroleum Institute, have pushed lawmakers to repeal the measure. Legislation to make changes to the mandate have been proposed in Congress but it remains uncertain if it will gain enough traction to succeed.