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Published March 17, 2014, 09:45 AM

Renewable Fuel Standard reality check

The Renewable Fuel Standard has been so successful that the oil industry now sees ethanol as a major threat to its bottom line. Unfortunately, Annette Meeks’ opinion piece, “Ethanol mandate hurts environment,” recently published in Agweek, shamelessly parroted many of the oil industry’s false claims about ethanol and repeatedly cites skewed facts from an Associated Press story that can only be described as a “hatchet job” against the ethanol industry.

By: Tom Buis,

The Renewable Fuel Standard has been so successful that the oil industry now sees ethanol as a major threat to its bottom line. Unfortunately, Annette Meeks’ opinion piece, “Ethanol mandate hurts environment,” recently published in Agweek, shamelessly parroted many of the oil industry’s false claims about ethanol and repeatedly cites skewed facts from an Associated Press story that can only be described as a “hatchet job” against the ethanol industry.

Meeks’ op-ed was riddled with errors. It erroneously claimed that 5 million acres of land set aside for conservation have vanished. Actually, as U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently noted, the total acreage of conservation programs has increased more than 70 percent in recent years to more than 350 million acres. While land use change in the U.S. is a complex and dynamic process, Secretary Vilsack emphasized that it was unlikely that significant amounts of acreage set aside for conservation in 2012 went into corn production in 2013.

Meeks also cited rising food prices, and erroneously shifted the blame onto the back of the ethanol industry. In fact, a recent World Bank study outlined how crude oil prices are responsible for 50 percent of the increase in food prices since 2004 — a year before the RFS was even enacted. Furthermore, this analysis has been validated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and countless other objective economic studies.

Here’s what’s indisputable, however: clean, renewable biofuels are helping cut our dangerous dependence on foreign oil and creating significant economic opportunities here at home. And because ethanol costs about 60 cents per gallon less than gasoline, it saves us all money at the pump.

It’s time to set the record straight on Big Oil’s cynical scheme to stifle American innovation and protect their own profits — no matter the costs to our environment, our economy and our national security. Ethanol and other biofuels are making our country stronger, safer and more prosperous and deserve the steadfast support of our leaders in Washington.

Editor’s note: Buis is the CEO of Growth Energy.

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