Americans United for Change and VoteVets.org, two groups primarily involved in advocacy campaigns outside of renewable energy this week unveiled a campaign countering Renewable Fuel Standard opponents.
In a press call Tuesday, the groups said they had "joined the counteroffensive against Big Oil's lies about the renewable fuel industry's job-growing, money-saving, environmentally-friendly record."
Jon Soltz, Co-Founder and Chairman of the veterans' group, said the decision to join was based on a collective interest of moving away from oil use.
"The more oil we use, the more the world prices go up, and the more those oil-rich nations who target us, our troops, and our allies benefit," Soltz said. "Ethanol is an important part of reducing our oil consumption, and that is good for our troops and our security."
The group, which Soltz said boasts 360,000 members, advocates for national security through public issue campaigns and includes a separate political action committee that works to elect veterans to public office.
Americans United for Change, another group involved in Tuesday's announcement, said the RFS is a "value added policy" that creates jobs and is a benefit to rural communities.
"It's because of the RFS's record of success that the Oil Industry has been waging such an aggressive, self-serving scare campaign against it," explained Brad Woodhouse, Americans United for Change president. "The oil industry will say anything to eliminate the cheaper, cleaner competition."
Woodhouse said the situation "makes sense," give that ethanol costs 60 to 80 cents less wholesale than regular gasoline and saves consumers about $1 billion every week. That money would otherwise be sent overseas, he said.
The group focuses on grassroots organizing, polling and message development, earned and paid media, online organizing for advocating "progressive values," according to its website.
Also on the call was Myrna Heddinger, Emmetsburg, Iowa, mayor. Heddinger said the town – which is home to a corn ethanol plant and a future cellulosic ethanol plant – thrives on the benefits renewable fuels have provided.
"The building of this plant has had a huge impact on our town. About 300 men employed out there on the building, looking for places to eat and live, and it has been a financial boon for the whole county," she said. "We couldn't be happier to have it here and hope that everybody will continue to support the RFS."
The groups join several ethanol organizations in defense of the RFS policy, just as EPA last week released a preliminary proposal to decrease the amount of renewable fuels that are required to be blended into the fuel supply.