WBIA BLOG

Media Release – Saudi oil company funds anti-ethanol campaign

Tuesday, May 1, 2014

Contact: Joshua Morby 414.791.9120

Wisconsin producers participate in aid campaign to highlight facts

 

MILWAUKEE –Recent records obtained by Americans United for Change connect the American Petroleum Institute, and it’s past campaigns, to Saudi companies and individuals (click here for details).

“The oil industry has long used misinformation to convince American consumers that ethanol is an inferior fuel when the reality is that it is the most-tested fuel in history, and has been proven to be efficient,” said Joshua Morby Executive Director of the Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance. “In Wisconsin, ethanol contributes to rural prosperity, helps secure our energy independence, and supports over 19,000 jobs.”

The campaign points out the close ties between the American Petroleum Institute’s board and funding and the Saudi state oil company, Saudi Aramco.

The 30-second TV spot accompanying the campaign can be found 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.

For audio files of the above quotes click here.

 

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Video – Saudi oil company funds anti-ethanol campaign

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“Saudi Oil Money Helps Finance Attacks on American Ethanol, IRS Records Show”

 

From Americans United for Change -

The “American” Petroleum Institute (API) has launched a massive TV campaign and lobbying blitz to convince
the U.S. EPA and/or Congress to reduce the amount of clean, renewable fuel in gasoline while increasing the
percentage of oil-based fuel at the pump. If successful, it would result in a significant increase in foreign oil
imports, forcing Americans to spend an addition $2.5 billion on foreign oil this year alone.1

API is funded by its member companies – including Saudi Arabia’s state owned national oil company, Saudi
Aramco.

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Media Release – Study highlights ethanol’s impact on Wisconsin

 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Contact: Joshua Morby 414.791.9120

Ethanol Industry helps employ 6,000 people and indirectly generates $980 million in wages for the renewable fuel sector

 

MILWAUKEE – A new study has shown that the renewable fuels industry in Wisconsin, including conventional and cellulosic ethanol, biodiesel, and advanced biofuels, generates $4.2B of total economic output annually.

“In addition to protecting our environment, producing a clean, renewable motor fuel for our cars, ethanol is big business for Wisconsin,” said Joshua Morby Executive Director of the Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance’s. “For too long the oil industry has spewed lies and misinformation about our industry. In partnership with other ethanol producers from across the country, we’re taking a stand.”

The ethanol industry in Wisconsin is part of a national effort that includes paid advertising and legislative outreach aimed at protecting federal policy.

“The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was responsible for millions of dollars of private investment that laid the groundwork for the kind of returns this study highlights,” said Morby.

For more information about the study and to find additional specifics about the impact it has on Wisconsin click 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.

For audio files of Josh Morby’s quotes, click here.

 

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Oil Rigged – Big Oil is misleading America

 

“Ethanol is the lowest cost transportation fuel in the world.”

 

Bold words this morning from the President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, Bob Dinneen. But, it’s true! Ethanol has proven to be one of our best options for powering our Nation and moving America forward – which is exactly why Big Oil has been stacking the deck against ethanol blends for years.

Today, the national ethanol advocacy group, Fuels America is launching a nationwide campaign to draw attention to the many ways Big Oil is using misinformation to skew public opinion and convince our lawmakers that oil is the way to go.

In fact, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, the oil industry has spent $885 million on lobbyists and campaign contributions to our legislators in the past five years…

That’s more than $1 million for each and every single member of Congress.

Big Oil has been rigging the system for far too long. Help us stop the misinformation! Take a look at OilRigged.com and together we can keep moving America forward.

 

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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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The WBIA goes to Washington

Every year, the Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance joins national ethanol advocacy group, the Renewable Fuel Association, for their annual Washington, D.C. lobbying day. This year, the WBIA’s Executive Director Joshua Morby and President Robert Sather had meetings with nearly every one of the offices of Wisconsin’s Congressional delegation.

“This is not really about left or right,” says Josh Morby, “Wisconsin’s ethanol industry is vital to the economic growth of our rural communities. We’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars going into the pockets and cash registers of Wisconsinites. Plus, ethanol is cleaner to burn than gasoline and helps reduce our dependence on foreign oil. We have to make sure we fight for this industry here in Wisconsin.”

The primary goal of the WBIA’s visit to DC last week was to make sure our federal lawmakers are aware of the biggest threat to ethanol – proposed changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard. The RFS is a 2007 law that was designed to encourage America to shift away from fossil fuels. Passed with bipartisan support, the RFS has been considered the single most effective piece of legislation in reducing America’s greenhouse gas pollution.

A key part of the RFS is the Renewable Volume Obligation, which by law mandates that a certain percentage of every gallon of gasoline sold in America contain ethanol. The goal was not to endorse ethanol but to push our transportation fuels infrastructure to lean forwards and reduce our dependence on foreign petroleum. Over the past year, the RVO has been attacked by the oil industry, culminating in a decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to potentially remove or lower the volume obligation. This would be a mistake. We can’t let the oil industry’s inconvenience stifle research into new fuels.

“We understand this is polarizing. We understand that it’s a complex issue.” Said WBIA President Robert Sather, “There’s been a lot of study that has gone into this, and the evidence does not back up the claims of our opponents. The RFS and the RVO are not going to make it so the oil industry is no longer profitable. The concept of a ‘blend wall,’ a point where they run out of ethanol to mix into the gasoline supply is absurd. It’s not real.”

Armed only with handouts of ethanol’s economic impact in Wisconsin, the WBIA met with seven of our ten Congressional offices to share a state of the market update with legislators.

“Part of the WBIA’s mission is education, and we take that seriously. So when we meet with our elected officials we’re there mostly as educators. If they know about the industry and our value to the state they can form their own thoughts. “Says Josh Morby, “And because of that, for nearly ten years our relationships in Madison, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C. have only grown.”

 

For more information on the proposed changes to the RFS click here for the EPA’s summary.

To learn more about the “blend wall,” take a look at this breakdown from the RFA.

If you want to see what the RFS is all about, check out this summary from Growth Energy.

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Producers rail against changes to ethanol requirements

Many are frustrated Walker hasn’t weighed in on issue

By Rick Barrett of the Journal Sentinel
Jan. 15, 2014

Follow @JournalSentinel on Twitter

 

Wisconsin biofuel producers say they’re disappointed Gov. Scott Walker hasn’t joined a group of Midwestern governors urging the federal government to support ethanol use and not cut the fuel additive requirement in gasoline.

Long considered a boon to the Midwest economy, ethanol made from corn is blended in most of the gasoline sold in the U.S. today.

But for the first time since 2007, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed cutting by 3 billion gallons, or almost 18%, the amount of ethanol in the U.S. fuel supply this year.

The reduction could have a huge adverse effect on corn growers and ethanol plants, said Robert Sather, co-founder of Ace Ethanol in Stanley and president of the Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance.

“We have nine ethanol plants in the state. They will all be in jeopardy if the EPA change comes to fruition,” Sather said.

The proposal has raised the ire of Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican, and governors from Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota, who want the EPA to leave the biofuel requirements intact.

If the EPA’s proposed rule takes effect, the negative impact would be felt most in rural America, the governors said in a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

The governors said more than 400,000 Americans depend on renewable fuels for jobs in their states, directly or indirectly. They cited an Iowa State University study that estimated a reduction in the Renewable Fuels Standard could cause corn prices to drop below the point where farmers would make a profit on the commodity.

Corn is Wisconsin’s biggest crop, and farmers make planting decisions based in part on the demand for ethanol. So Wisconsin ethanol producers say they’re frustrated by Walker’s decision not join the other governors in urging the EPA to reject any reduction in the Renewable Fuels Standard.

Walker says he’s keeping a campaign pledge to not take a position in the debate that has pitted ethanol producers against Wisconsin’s small-engine industry, which opposes increased use of the fuel additive.

Livestock farmers also aren’t pleased with ethanol because it drives up the price of corn and makes their feed more expensive.

“From our standpoint, it’s a careful balance. We’ve got corn producers, but we also have (corn) users, particularly in the dairy industry,” Walker said in an interview.

The EPA was supposed to make its decision on the 2014 ethanol requirements last November but missed the deadline and has kept its public comment period open until Jan. 28.

“If there ever was a time the industry wanted the governor to get involved and weigh in, now is that time,” said Josh Morby, executive director of the Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance.

(Follow Joshua on LinkedInTwitter, and make sure to follow the WBIA.)

 

In a speech to EPA officials in November, Iowa’s Branstad said by lowering the nation’s ethanol blending mandate, President Barack Obama’s administration would be turning its back on Iowa voters.

Iowa is the nation’s largest ethanol producer with 42 refineries.

“This is going to drive us into what could be another farm crisis. It makes no sense,” Branstad said.

Ethanol critics say the recent boom in domestic oil production has made the biofuel additive less important as an alternative to foreign oil.

Also, as vehicles become more fuel efficient, Americans are using less gasoline than they did seven years ago when the government set the Renewable Fuels Standard.

Almost all gasoline sold in the U.S. contains 10% ethanol.

“We are now at the E-10 blend wall,” the agency said, adding that if gasoline use continues to decline with more fuel-efficient vehicles, then growth in ethanol use would have to come from higher blends ranging from 15% to 85%.

That would be unpopular with the automotive industry and small-engine makers, who contend the higher blends could result in problems such as premature engine wear, fuel line issues and lower fuel mileage.

It’s time to scale back the Renewable Fuels Standard to better reflect the current situation, the American Petroleum Institute says.

“The Renewable Fuels Standard was a well-intentioned law that was written in 2007, when the assumptions of what 2014 would look like were vastly different,” said Patrick Kelly, API’s senior fuels policy adviser.

“Now the EPA has taken steps in the right direction to address this,” Kelly said.

 

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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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