War over RFS heats up as vets show support for biofuels

U.S. veterans, who put their lives on the line in battle, are now waging a new war against cuts to the RFS
By Ron Kotrba | January 08, 2014

The political war over the renewable fuel standard (RFS) is heating up as the largest progressive group of veterans in America, with more than 360,000 supporters,, launches a new television ad in Iowa to protect the RFS. Under pressure from Big Oil, the U.S. EPA has proposed to cut ethanol and advanced biofuels volumes under the RFS this year. The agency has also proposed stalling the biomass-based diesel standard at 1.28 billion gallons, which, in effect, would be a cut when considering the surplus biodiesel volumes produced in 2013. Also, since biodiesel qualifies as an advanced biofuel, the significant reduction in advanced volumes from the statutory levels of 3.75 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons (2.5 billion biodiesel gallons) to 2.2 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons (1.47 billion biodiesel gallons) further threatens U.S. biodiesel industry growth. If the EPA’s proposed volumes are enacted in its final rule, the only winners of this war will be the richest, most powerful corporations in the world: the oil companies.

The ad buy is nearly $110,000 for one week of time in the Des Moines market as well as in Washington, D.C., where it will be seen by decision makers on the issue. The group says more ads will be coming in the next few weeks.

Today’s ad features an Iraq War Veteran, Michael Connolly, making the case that gutting the RFS would allow for a greater flow of oil dollars to our enemies, who use that money for weaponry that has targeted our troops. Connolly, who served in Iraq from 2007 to 2008, lived in Glenwood, Iowa, from 2010 to 2012, and now lives just across the border, in Nebraska.

The ad opens with an explosion in front of a military convoy. Connolly says, “War is dangerous. I know. I was there. Now, people ask me all the time how they can support the troops.” Holding a yellow ribbon, Connolly says, “By putting one of these on your car?  Sure…” And then in front of an ethanol gas pump, “By putting this in your tank?  Even better … More renewable fuels, like the kind grown here in Iowa, means we use less foreign oil. And that means less money for our enemies. But the oil companies are trying to kill renewable fuels.”

Click here to watch the ad.