By Susanne Retka Schill, Ethanol Producer Magazine.
The ethanol industry’s counter-offensive to attacks on the renewable fuel standard (RFS) continues to pick up steam, leading up to November’s expected announcement on the renewable volume obligations.
After Growth Energy and Renewable Fuels Association jumped on a University of Tennessee report critical of corn ethanol last week, the agency working with the Fuels America Coalition, Smoot Tewes Group, sent out a memo to those that may be covering the Brookings Institute Panel or the U.S. EPA inspector general’s research on the lifecycle impacts of the RFS. The group questioned the objectivity of the Brookings Institute which received $430,000 from ExxonMobil in 2014 and its director of environmental and energy economics, Ted Gayer, who has long-held ties to the oil industry.
The media advisory also cited a news release statement from Jeremy Funk, communications director for the pro-renewable fuels group, Americans United for Change. Funk questioned the neutrality of two panelists in the Brooking Institute’s webinar: “We hope Mr. [Chris] Knittel and Mr. [Timothy] Searchinger will be transparent about their financial ties to Big Oil and not present themselves as objective critics of the RFS.” Funk noted “there is mountains of academic research showing that ethanol use significantly cuts down carbon emissions compared to gasoline made from dirty fossil fuels, whether it be from the Argonne National Laboratory, Purdue University, the University of Nebraska, Michigan State University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory/Duke University, the University of Illinois-Chicago and others.”