Media Release – Ethanol Producers Target Big Oil with Ads

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Contact: Joshua Morby 414.791.9120

Ethanol Producers Target Big Oil with Ads

Oilrigged.com highlights how Big Oil rigs the system


MILWAUKEE – In the last five years, the oil industry has spent over $885 million on lobbyists and campaign contributions to buy influence on Capitol Hill. That’s more than $1 million for every member of Congress.

“This is all about big oil trying to protect market share by killing the Renewable Fuel Standard,” said Joshua Morby executive director of the Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance. “The RFS is a commonsense, bipartisan law that calls for the use of Wisconsin renewable fuels in our transportation fuel supply.”

It’s worked – growth in the renewable fuel sector under the RFS has driven a $500 billion increase in the value of America’s farm assets since 2007 — and encouraged investment in rural communities across Wisconsin.

“We’re ready to change the debate and move past the same tired, old, misleading arguments the oil industry has used for years,” said Morby. “Oilrigged.com will change the debate and hopefully get reporters and politicians asking more questions.”

In addition to the website, the campaign features a 30 second TV spot that will appear in a number of targeted markets across the country. The ad can be seen here.

The Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance is a diverse group of businesses, environmental groups and statewide and local organizations that have come together to build both public and legislative awareness of the Bio Industry in Wisconsin.

For more information about the Alliance, or to find out how to join, please visit our website: http://www.wisconsinbioindustry.com.

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The Wisconsin Energy Institute and Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center

Our most recent member meeting of the WBIA was hosted by the Great Lakes Bio Energy Research Center located in the brand new Wisconsin Energy Institute on the UW-Madison campus.

Hosted by the WEI’s Associate Director, Mary Blanchard, we received an overview on the GLBRC’s mission and projects from their Scientific Programs Manager, Steve Slater. Finally, Leith Nye, the GLBRC’s Education and Outreach Coordinator led us on a tour of the facility.


The GLBRC is a Department of Energy funded project that seeks to “perform the basic research that generates technology to convert cellulosic biomass to ethanol and other advanced biofuels.” In a nutshell, they are at the forefront of finding ways to advance renewable energy from cellulosic biomass. If you can think of it, they’re probably doing it.


While we were only able to glimpse into a handful of their most promising work, the GLBRC’s location at the WEI building is not by accident. The WEI has brought together researchers from diverse disciplines to better understand the larger picture of our energy issues. The Wisconsin Energy Institute is the only bioenergy research facility located on an academic campus and takes full advantage of that, bridging the gaps between the many fields in which scientists and students are working on the future of energy, from biofuels to batteries.

The presentation from Dr. Slater was focused on three projects the GLBRC’s is most excited about, which we’ll cover in our next blog post. Stay tuned!

We were also able to walk through the factors involved in bringing cellulosic ethanol to market. Dr. Slater broke down which aspects in the four stages of refinement play most into economic viability, and offered some insight onto the technology they are developing which can reduce their impact on the bottom line.


If you’d like to know more, contact the Wisconsin Energy Institute and the Great Lakes Bio Energy Research Center. Both of these organizations are doing truly astonishing work, and we’re proud to have them in the state of Wisconsin. We’d also like to thank their communications/event staff for providing us with the opportunity and helping us make the most of our visit.


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Ethanol in Wisconsin: Facts and Fiction

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 A blog post from WBIA Executive Director, Joshua Morby.

Follow Joshua on LinkedIn, Twitter, and make sure to follow the WBIA.


The ethanol industry has had a rough couple of weeks. Between a national story full of inaccuracies, coupled with the EPA’s recommendation to roll back the number of gallons of ethanol blended into domestic gasoline supplies. The question remains however, what all this pontificating from ethanol’s supporters and opponents will really mean for Wisconsin.


Here’s what we do know.

Last Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed cutting the Renewable Volume Obligation for conventional renewable fuel from the statutory level of 14.4 billion gallons to 13.01 billion gallons.

For Wisconsin producers, which rank #7 nationally in terms of production with close to 500 million gallons, this could mean trouble. Our nine plants represent more than a billion dollars of economic activity for our state’s agriculture industry alone, not to mention the money those plants spend on professional services, technology, and the payroll in their home communities.

Ethanol really does help keep gas prices down. The challenge our industry faces is telling that story and making it stick. As recently as last week there was a front page story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about the recent drop in gas prices in Southeast Wisconsin but no mention of the role ethanol played.

Just this morning, the price of a gallon of ethanol was more than 80 cents less than the price of a gallon of pure gasoline. With the national retail price of gas of hovering around $3.20, the fact that ethanol is blended at a rate of 10 percent with almost every gallon of gas sold means it plays a significant role in helping control gas prices. As more ethanol is blended, prices will drop.

Consumers should be able to make their own choices at the pump, not have them dictated by big oil companies or politicians in Washington.

While the horse-trading takes place in Washington, fans of cheaper gas, more choices at the pump, energy independence and renewable fuel must get involved. While our Wisconsin delegation in Wisconsin remains pretty well split along partisan lines in their support of ethanol, Governor Walker has kept a fairly low profile compared to many of our neighboring states.

While the political upside may not be there for Governor Walker to come out as a vocal supporter of the ethanol industry and the federal requirements that protect Wisconsin’s rural communities, there is a clear economic upside.


Call Governor Walker and tell him you support the Wisconsin ethanol industry and want him to also. He can show his support by calling the president and asking him to protect the Renewable Fuel Standard. He can be reached at 608-266-1212.

You can find the point-counter point on the mentioned AP article here.

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We Love Oil

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Wisconsin ethanol plant to be featured on “Into the Outdoors”

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Didion Milling and Didion Ethanol will be featured on the television show “Into the Outdoors” which airs this weekend on local channels. The TV program aims to educate kids about the outdoors and nature. The episode featuring Didion “Big Things from Small Stuff” follows the full life of a corn kernel from the planting by area corn farmers using modern combines to the harvest phase.   

“Into the Outdoors” may be found on multiple Wisconsin channels. Madison channel WKOW TV-27 on Saturdays at 6:30am, Green Bay channel WFRV TV-5 on Saturdays at 11:00am, Wausau channel WAOW TV-9 on Sundays at 10:00am and Milwaukee channel WITI TV-6 on Sundays at 10:30am.

Check out a clip from Didion’s episode, click here.

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Subsides given for fossil fuels greatly overshadows those for renewable energy

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In a recent article from Bloomberg, the International Energy Agency reports subsidies given to fossil fuels are six times more than those for renewable energy. As a result, the enormous subsidies awarded to fossil fuels are creating a market distortion where the costs are greatly outweighing the benefits.

G-20 nations spent a $160 billion supporting the production of fossil fuels and its consumption last year alone. To continue spending on an increasingly inefficient fuel source will only further set the US back in becoming an energy independent nation.

Though aid for renewable energy projects rose 10 percent, the US faces significant hurdles building a competitive energy market if fossil fuels continue to receive large government subsidies. Whereas Europe and China are making strides in building competitive renewable energy markets, at the current pace, the IEA predicts the US renewable energy market will need aid until at 2035.

To read more about International Energy Agency’s report, click here.

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“Freedom” rolls out big in DC

“Freedom,” the compelling documentary investigating the repercussions of America’s addiction to foreign oil and a proposed solution for our energy independence will have its red carpet premiere in DC tonight with a slew of special guests.

Preceding the film’s premiere a press conference will take place at 2pm ET. The debate and Q&A hosted by Dennis McGinn, retired Vice Admiral and President of the American Council on Renewable Fuels, will include filmmakers Josh and Rebecca Tickell as well as General Wesley Clark, who ranked at a four-star general and director of strategic plans and policy for the Joint Chief of Staffs.

“Freedom” covers a wide range on our country’s oil issues ranging from last year’s Deepwater Horizon explosion, Keystone XL pipeline, and the economic impact of foreign oil on American citizens. The film also highlights a path to long-term sustainable path to domestic fuel.

To learn more about “Freedom,” click here. Or, check out the trailer here.

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Award-winning filmmakers screen new documentary in Madison and Milwaukee

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Freedom, the new documentary confronting the dependence on foreign oil in the United Sates and the search for a sustainable solution will be coming to Wisconsin. Award-winning filmmakers Josh and Rebecca Tickell will be screening their documentary at two different events in Madison and Milwaukee on September 26th and 27th. A panel discussion will take place after the film where the audience will about to ask questions about the future of oil in the United States.

The Madison screening will be held at the Sundance Theater at 7pm.

The Milwaukee screening will be held at the UWM Union Theater at 7pm.

To view a trailer, click here.

For more information on Freedom, click here.

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Ag. Secretary Tom Vilsack at Wisconsin State Fair on biofuels

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New TV Ad on Ethanol’s Impact on Gas Prices

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Check out this new television ad from the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association which shows that without ethanol, gasoline prices would be about 90 cents more per gallon.

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