Fuels America launches TV campaign to counter anti-RFS letter

By Fuels America | November 12, 2015

Fuels America is announcing a significant television campaign today calling out Rep. Peter Welch (VT-AL) for signing on to a Congressional letter that was authored by oil industry lobbyists. The first phase of the campaign includes 250 GRPs in the Burlington media market for one week.

The ad calls out Rep. Welch for protecting oil company profits and criticizes the 96 signers who are climate change deniers, urging viewers to “Remind Peter Welch to stand up for Vermont, not oil companies and climate deniers.” The 184 Members of Congress who signed on have collectively received more than $39 million from the oil and gas industry throughout their careers. Altogether the signers have an average score of 2.74 from the League of Conservation Voters; 154 have an LCV score below 10, 140 have an LCV score below 5, and 76 have an LCV score of 0.

"After years of pleading with Congressman Welch, it is time to inform Vermonters about his beltway exploits with the oil industry attacking renewable fuels,” Advanced Biofuels Business Council Executive Director Brooke Coleman responded. “Mr. Welch didn't just join an anti-biofuel campaign underwritten by the oil industry, he led the effort to recruit others. It is time to shine a brighter light on those encouraging EPA and the President to gut the renewable fuel standard (RFS). It's not a chorus, it is the oil industry, climate deniers and EPA bashers disguised as one. This letter and the millions of dollars of oil contributions flowing to its signers tell you everything you need to know about the anti-RFS crowd."

Rep. Welch’s letter, released last week, was sent to EPA Administrator McCarthy asking the Administration to gut the Renewable Fuel Standard—America’s most successful policy on the books aimed directly at fighting climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions—and a policy which Administrator McCarthy has called a “vital tool” in combatting climate change.

A final rule on the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2014, 2015, and 2016 is expected by the end of the month. President Obama and his Administration must choose to either maintain a strong RFS as Congress intended, or gut the program at the behest of the oil industry.

“Congressman Welch should know better than to accept without question the oil company’s narrative about biofuels,” Bob Dinneen, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association responded. “Of course the oil companies are going to whine they can’t possibly blend any more biofuel than they do today – they don’t want to! Of course they’re going to exaggerate, distort and outright lie about the environmental footprint of biofuels – they don’t want to talk about their own! Congressman Welch should have done his homework. He would have found out that American ethanol has reduced consumer gasoline prices, lowered the taxpayer burden of farm program costs, and incentivized an unprecedented investment in private sector funds in new technologies that are being commercialized today and leading a revolution in biofuels production. None of this would happen if Big Oil had its way.”

The anti-RFS letter by the oil lobby came on top of the release of a letter from 16 members of the Congressional Black Caucus to Administrator McCarthy urging the EPA to support the RFS and showing the major harm to our air and lungs caused by the oil industry, particularly in vulnerable communities. In the same vein, Rep. Donald Payne (NJ-10) recently penned an op-ed in The Hill stressing the climate and public health benefits of the RFS in contrast to fossil fuels’ pollution that disproportionately impacts urban areas and communities of color.

Brent Erickson, Executive Vice President at the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) also weighed in. “The oil industry has been caught red-handed in authoring the letter to EPA Administrator McCarthy and duping 180 lawmakers into putting their names on it. It is very disturbing to see the lengths the oil refining industry will go to distort the record and protect their profits and fuel monopoly.”