Big Oil caught 'red handed' writing letter signed by lawmakers

By Ann Bailey | November 11, 2015

Ethanol industry supporters say a recent anti-renewable fuel standard letter to the U.S. EPA is another attempt by petroleum companies to misinform the public and lawmakers about renewable volume obligations (RVO).

A Nov. 4 letter to the EPA, signed by more 184 lawmakers, was, according to a Bloomberg report, influenced by Marathon Petroleum Corp. Bob Dinneen, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association called it no surprise that as the Nov. 30 deadline for EPA to issue its final rule on the 2014-’16 RVO approaches, the petroleum industry is attempting to confuse and mislead the public.

“The fact that members of Congress are parroting Big Oil’s blend wall narrative is shameful evidence that money talks,” Dinneen said in a news release.

“But the facts say something different. If the blend wall is such an impenetrable barrier to increasing the amount of biofuels that can be blended with gasoline, how can Big Oil explain that, according to data recently released by the Energy Information Agency, in 2013 ethanol comprised more than 10 percent of gasoline consumption in 22 states and the District of Columbia? This begs the question: What blend wall?”

The oil industry has been caught “red-handed” writing the letter to the EPA, said Brent Erickson, Biotechnology Industry Organization executive vice president, in a news release and “duping 180 lawmakers into putting their names on it. It is very disturbing to see the lengths to which the oil industry would go to distort the record and protect their profits and fuel monopoly.”

Meanwhile, the National Corn Growers expressed disappointment that Congressional members from corn-producing states would the EPA to reduce the volume of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply.

“I’m disappointed to see Members of Congress turn their back on farmers and rural communities,” Wesley Spurlock, First Vice President of the National Corn Growers and a farmer from Stratford, Texas said in a news release.

“The renewable fuel standard (RFS) has been one of the most successful energy policies ever enacted. The RFS works. It has reduced our dependence on foreign oil. It has made the rural economy stronger. And it has been better for the environment. It’s puzzling that these Representatives would not want to support it,” Spurlock said.

Spurlock urged farmers, employees of the renewable fuels industry, and rural community leaders to contact their elected officials and make their voices heard.

“Ethanol is the backbone of the rural economy, and the elected officials who represent these communities need to hear from us. It’s up to us to tell them this is unacceptable and hold them accountable. Corn farmers are doing their part to feed and fuel America. It’s time for Congress to do their part and stand up for energy independence, clean air and strong rural communities.”