Veterans launch campaign in defense of ethanol

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A veterans group joined a left-leaning activist organization today to kick off an effort promoting ethanol in the wake of a proposal by the Obama administration to lower the nation’s renewable fuel mandate for the first time in its history.

“If you go after ethanol, potentially you’re funding people who kill our troops. There’s no question about it that oil is a blood diamond,” said Jon Soltz, co-founder and chairman of, a group with 360,000 members. “That’s the message that we’re going to deliver.”

By setting increasing targets for ethanol and advanced biofuels each year, the renewable fuel standard has helped reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil and create jobs in rural communities when veterans return from war regions, and Americans United for Change said.

“It’s irrefutable that these renewable sources of fuel can be made in America,” said Brad Woodhouse, president of Americans United for Change. “We’ve been tied down in too many conflicts overseas related to securing imports of foreign oil.”

The groups plan to launch a media campaign on national networks and in select markets featuring veterans promoting ethanol. They also plan to champion ethanol via grass-roots organizing and on social media networks.

The groups intend to highlight that ethanol production provides jobs for veterans returning home to rural America and to push back against the “misleading and self-serving scare campaign” by oil industry trade groups seeking to repeal the renewable fuel standard in Congress.

The veterans’ push for ethanol was prompted by U.S. EPA’s proposal Friday to lower the renewable fuel standard next year from the 18.15 billion gallons that was written into 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act to 15.21 billion gallons. The administration cited concerns raised by the oil industry over the technically feasible amount of ethanol that can be blended into the nation’s transportation system (E&ENews PM, Nov. 15).