Green Activists Continue Ethanol Smear Campaign

Another anti-biofuels report has been released, this time from the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) who is arguing that an immediate benefit would ensue if current biofuels policies were repealed and replaced with policies that would take the world’s most productive cropland out of production. Maybe more alarming is that while the report attempts to discredit the most promising biofuels technologies, it gives fossil fuels along with other dirty energy sources a get out of jail card. This report has spurred the biofuels industry to respond.

“Most disappointing about the continuous barrage of attacks by environmental activists is that we share many of the same goals,” said Matt Hartwig, Director of Public Affairs at the Renewable Fuels Association. “Ethanol producers remain steadfastly committed to developing new technologies that improve efficiencies and expand the basket of feedstocks from which ethanol is made. Unfortunately, many in the environmental movement choose to rely on disproven theories and partnerships with the oil lobby to mislead and misrepresent what American ethanol production is all about. Simply put, second and third generations of ethanol technology will not exist without a successful first generation.”

RFA notes that the report from the National Wildlife Federation makes a number of policy recommendations that would seem to undermine its stated goals.

  • • NWF argues that the tax incentives for biofuels should be repealed as they are duplicative with the existing Renewable Fuels Standard. However, RFA points out that the tax incentives for biofuels are critical to ensuring the existence of a domestic biofuels industry.
  • • NWF calls for Congress to alter the RFS to replace grain-based biofuel with other biofuels down the road. However, RFA notes that seeking to replace corn-based ethanol and other grain-based biofuels would greatly reduce the impact of the RFS. Instead of building upon the energy security and environmental gains offered by these renewable fuels, such a revision would eliminate these gains and increase reliance on fossil fuels.
  • • NWF wants Congress to remove the ‘grandfather clause’ for ethanol producers in the RFS and also wants to revise the lifecycle analyses included in the RFS to more accurately reflect current ethanol production. However, RFA argues that based on EPA analysis, ethanol production not only achieves but exceeds the required 20% reduction in greenhouse gases called for in the RFS. And, the ethanol industry agrees that EPA needs to revisit its lifecycle analysis with more up-to-date and verifiable information.

Hartwig concluded of the report, “America’s ethanol producers are prepared to move ever-forward, commercializing the very technologies that groups like NWF espouse to support. However, the increasing obstruction by environmental activists, often supported by those in the fossil fuel industry, makes it exceedingly difficult to achieve the kind of energy security, economic opportunity, and environmental improvements we are striving to achieve.”

9 thoughts on “Green Activists Continue Ethanol Smear Campaign

  1. Dear Joanna,
    I am wondering if you really read our report? Where exactly do you find reference to taking the world’s most productive cropland out of production? In fact, we state that the most productive cropland should remain in production and the more marginal areas turned over into biomss production as biomass energy becomes viable economically (see page 23). And how do we give fossil fuels a pass? We specifially say: “We also must level the playing field with fossil fuels. Currently fossil fuels recieve more than twice the level of subsidies as renewable energy sources…” (p. 3).

    As to RFA’s three bullet points in your posting:
    – A recent IA state study found that repealing the VEETC tax credit for corn ethanol would have little to no impact on producers. Cozy relationship with oil companies? We are the ones trying to end the $.45 per gallon for blending ethanol they are already required to use.
    – We don’t call for a reduction in volume targets of the RFS, just replacement of cellulosic biofuels for conventional biofuels WHEN such fuels are capable of doing so.
    – RFA should have no trouble with a repeal of the grandfathering clause for corn ethanol if it is truly confident that corn ethanol is 20% better than conventional fuels in its greenhouse gas performance.
    You can find our full report at:

  2. You both need to read the I wrote article at the link below because neither one of you are making any sense with regard to the reality of any of the ethanol perspectives you present. And I’m going to save a copy of this web page as evidence that I made this article plainly available to both of you so I can later point out how you both ignored it in my congressional election campaign later this spring.

    That’s right boys and girls, the BS party is over, get real on ethanol or I will do it for you. I shouldn’t even give you this chance. But I want change more than problems to solve by running for public office on issues that I know the truth about that both your industries are lying to the American people about. But then I bet this article could circulate throughout the highest levels of both your inner circles, even after having been validated is accurate, and still nothing would change. So my saving a copy of this web-page ought to help me prove that point.

    That’s it then, the gauntlet has been thrown down, we’ll either see you both back here in a few weeks with a whole new set of reports that tells the American people the truth about ethanol or articles will begin to surface how reality isn’t a factor when dealing with ethanol, either to the lobby groups who support it or those that don’t.

    Have a wonderful day to both of you,, and might I add, thank you so much for giving me this unique opportunity.

  3. “… reality isn’t a factor when dealing with ethanol … ” Um, has it ever been, Mr. Fontaine?

  4. Ron,

    Maybe you could be Bobby Fontaine’s campaign manager in his run for Congress…

  5. I can’t seem to make up my mind which is a bigger farce, MTBE or anhydrous ethanol. But neither one are fuels and both certainly worsen air quality. They only thing they are good for is making people investing in medical related industries a whole lot of money because of how dangerous the emissions the produce are. Like with this health care bill followed by energy debates, if it leads to an awakening about the reality that we can use ethanol in a way that makes it actually work if we focus in the direction of hydrous ethanol rather than anhydrous, we will be thanking Obama for having given the government the tools it needs to keep the health care industry from collapsing after rates of illness fall dramatically causing a financial bubble burst worse than what happened to housing in 2008.

    Look what they’re doing in the Netherlands ( ) where they’ve learned how to blend hydrous ethanol with gasoline without causing a loss of mileage and more emissions like anhydrous. This hydrous blend can be transported through pipes lines, doesn’t damage engines, and in many cases, makes engines run better getting more mileage than with plain gasoline.

    The reason the ethanol industry doesn’t want to truth about hydrous ethanol getting out is three fold. First of all, hydrous ethanol is such a cheap and easily direction to go that it wouldn’t take long for federal subsidies to end because they wouldn’t be needed. The money from those subsidies don’t even go to the farmers or ethanol producers but to a discreet little group Wall Street companies play the middlemen between the ethanol industry and gasoline depots where ethanol is blended. These are the same people who fund ethanol lobbyist in Washington to make sure our leaders don’t understand the issue or don’t want to understand it because of all the free money being thrown their way, tax payer money being shuffled through these small companies. So this whole mess has to do with making sure that a handful of con men on Wall Street and in Washington DC get paid at the expense of this country’s future.

    Another reason is that hydrous ethanol is easy to produce unlike anhydrous ethanol which in technologically and financially burdensome to produce. So if the word got out about hydrous, little start up companies would pop up in every town around the nation eventually out-competing the big companies.

    And finally, the reason they distill rather than use gasification even though distillation is an environmentally wasteful and dangerous process is because if the word got out about the benefits of gasification, it wouldn’t take long for us to realize that we can solve our energy problems harvesting garbage to be turned into fuel and other products through gasification at the local municipal level cutting Wall Street out of huge sectors of the energy market at the same time lessening pollution levels so Americans stop getting sick at such sky high rates.

    These two factors combined would, and will, crush Wall Street. And it’s all coming to a neighborhood near you.

  6. Bobby Fontaine, what do you mean by this?

    “And finally, the reason they distill rather than use gasification even though distillation is an environmentally wasteful and dangerous process…”

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