Producer coalition launches ad campaign 

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Biofuel producers today launched a new advertising campaign in support of the renewable fuel standard.

The campaign is aimed at policymakers in Washington, D.C., and will feature both television and digital ads. TV ads will air on morning news shows, Sunday morning talk shows and cable television in D.C., while digital ads will appear on inside-the-Beltway publications.

Fuels America, a coalition of biofuel producers, said the six-figure ad campaign is meant to highlight the choices facing U.S. EPA as it considers a rulemaking to set biofuel mandates for 2014, 2015 and 2016. EPA is working toward a June 1 deadline to release proposed targets.

The television ad released by Fuels America today shows images of farmland and credits the renewable fuel standard — which mandates the production of biofuels — for boosting the economy in rural areas.

“The oil industry wants the EPA to protect their profits and foreign oil,” a voice-over says. “The EPA now faces a choice: cave to the oil industry or keep their commitment to America’s rural communities.”

In a press call today, members of the coalition said the ad was directly in response to a recent letter to EPA from the American Petroleum Institute and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers calling on the agency to lower the mandates in the upcoming rule. The oil industry groups argued that there was a limit to the amount of ethanol that can be used in fueling infrastructure.

“There is little risk in erring on the low side when setting the renewable fuel volumes, but substantial risk in setting them too high,” the groups wrote to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy (E&ENews PM, May 4).

Brooke Coleman, executive director of the Advanced Ethanol Council, said today on the press call that the ad campaign was only the first in a “long series of strategies” to push EPA to set robust renewable fuel mandates.

“We’re targeting the policy experts and those making the decision in Washington, D.C., on this issue,” he said. “This is hardly the only thing that we’re doing as a coalition, but this particular ad buy is directed at those who should be reading the API letter.”

Along with EPA, the target audience for the campaign includes advisers in the White House, said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association.

Dinneen said the Fuels America coalition plans to meet with the White House Office of Management and Budget, which is currently reviewing EPA’s rule, but declined to give specifics about any meetings.

“I ultimately think this is probably not something that EPA will decide,” he said on the call today. “While it will be their rule, and they’ll have to comfortable with whatever that is, this is really the White House’s call.”