RFS is a Gold Medal Win

Just as in the last 10 minutes of the U.S./Soviet 1980 Olympic hockey game where goalie Jim Craig blocked shot after shot, the ethanol industry will continue to deflect shots from Big Oil, Congress and the EPA in order to protect the RFS.
By Bob Dinneen | January 25, 2014

As the Olympic flame burns, I find myself reflecting upon one of the greatest moments in Olympic history—the “Miracle on Ice.” Against all odds, a gang of ragtag American hockey players faced off against the dominating Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympic Games in Lake Placid, N.Y., defeating the hockey superpower 4-3.

Thirty-four years later, America’s ethanol industry is in the same kind of fight against Big Oil’s crushing domination of the fuel market. A victory would give American drivers access to low-cost, octane-boosting, American-made green fuels. It would give drivers a choice at the pump that not only saves them money, but also helps create a cleaner environment, while driving America to a stronger, more secure future. The fight isn’t easy, it isn’t pretty, and sometimes it is flat-out ugly, but the ultimate reward makes it necessary. 

The U.S. hockey players’ never-quit attitude was on display for the whole world to see and can be seen again as biofuels advocates fight back against the seemingly relentless attacks from Big Oil’s front line, the American Petroleum Institute. API’s captain, Jack Gerard, has an unlimited capacity to fire slapshot after slapshot, with a bottomless advertising and lobbying budget and the backing of industry giants such as BP, ConocoPhillips, and ExxonMobil in order to protect their monopolistic stronghold on the fuel market. But we are shooting right back with heart and spirit because we are fighting for a more secure, stronger and better America, and not just our bottom line. 

We are fighting for a more secure America where OPEC is no longer dictating prices, military priorities no longer include protecting oil supplies in the Middle East and consumers have a choice at the pump. 

We are fighting for a stronger America where job opportunity abounds in rural economies, coast to coast, border to border. Where well-paying jobs and farm-related opportunities reverse the brain drain from rural communities to urban cities, as small businesses grow and feed off the success and demand generated by biorefineries.  

We are fighting for a better America that protects the environment and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Ethanol has already made leaps and bounds reducing greenhouse gas emissions since the passage of the renewable fuel standard. It is vital for our children and grandchildren that we continue along that path and leave a legacy of clean energy and not a world where we fracked the country half to death in the pursuit of oil. 

We are fighting for a consumer-based America where ethanol and domestically sourced oil are offered side-by-side in an open and competitive marketplace, putting American drivers back in the driver’s seat. Opening up the fuel market to a wide variety of choices will be a gold medal moment for consumers across the country. 

Just as in the last 10 minutes of the U.S./Soviet hockey game where goalie Jim Craig blocked shot after shot, we will continue to deflect shots from Big Oil, Congress and now the EPA in order to protect the renewable fuel standard. As we’re only six years into a 15-year RFS schedule, we’re only in the second period of a very long game. But just like the shouts of U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A could be heard echoing from the rafters in the 1980 Olympics, our rallying cry remains “Don’t Mess with the RFS.”

Author: Bob Dinneen
President and CEO,
Renewable Fuels Association