Fuels America has launched a new TV ad that blasts the Congressional leaders who sent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy a letter requesting that corn-based ethanol volumes be reduced in the final Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) rules. The final rules for 2014, 2015 and 2016 are expected by the end of this month.
The ad calls out Representative Peter Welch (D-VT) for protecting oil company profits and criticizes the signers who Fuels America calls climate change deniers. It continues by urging viewers to “Remind Peter Welch to stand up for Vermont, not oil companies and climate deniers.”
As noted in a previous story, the 184 Members of Congress who signed on have collectively received more than $39 million from the oil and gas industry throughout their careers. When combined, the signers have a National Environmental Scorecard of 2.74 out of a possible 100 (based on voting records) from the League of Conservation Voters (LCVs). The Scorecard is a nationally accepted yardstick used to rate members of Congress on environmental, public health, and energy issues. In addition 154 signers 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 said in regards to the Congressional letter. “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.”
The anti-RFS letter came shortly after several members of the Congressional Black Caucus called on the EPA to support the RFS citing negative health an environmental benefits of biofuels and the negative effects of emissions especially in vulnerable communities.
“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 said. “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.”
Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ) followed up the letter from the Black Caucus with 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.”