Bob Dinneen, president of the national Renewable Fuels Association, also spoke at the IRFA summit. He said the White House drove EPA to make the proposed changes in the RFS after being misled by the petroleum industry's misinformation that the RFS law was driving up gasoline prices. The petroleum industry is one of the most influential lobbying groups in Washington, D.C.
"Big Oil just can't stand the thought of losing more market share to a bunch of Iowa farmers. Prompted by the oil industry, EPA has pushed for this proposed reduction in the RFS," said Dinneen. "But I think farmers and biofuels are going to win this challenge."
Bob Dinneen: "This fight is about access to the consumer, about market share."
"We're up against the richest and biggest companies in the history of the world," Dinneen emphasized. "And they are irritated. They don't like the fact farmers have taken 10% of their barrel, 10% of the oil industry's market. Big Oil is fighting the expansion of biofuels. The oil industry is afraid of losing more market share to higher blends such as E15, E30 and E85 ethanol, and to higher blends of biodiesel. It's also clear the oil companies aren't going to build the infrastructure, the distribution system needed to allow higher blends of biofuels to reach consumers. I believe we're going to have to do that as an industry."
EPA is expected to make a decision on its RFS proposal sometime this spring. Meanwhile, the petroleum industry is pushing hard for the RFS change, lobbying in Washington D.C. and sending "robo calls" to consumers at random trying to scare them with misinformation about the RFS, said Dinneen. In fact, the president of the American Petroleum Institute has said the oil industry would like to see the 2007 Renewable Fuel Standard completely repealed.
If EPA goes forward with its proposed rule and decides to reduce the RFS volume requirements, a lawsuit is likely, said Dinneen. "We will not shy away from defending the RFS program to the bitter end. It is too important."
U.S. has paid a deep price for reliance on imported oil—in both dollars spent and in lives lost
Citing the huge cost of federal dollars to support military operations to protect America's access to foreign oil, Dinneen added, "We must stand together to promote our homegrown fuel. We must continue to fight against our country's addiction to foreign oil. We've paid a deep price for that oil in dollars and lives."