Veterans Organization Spends Big Bucks on RFS Defense

Non-ag interests weigh in on RFS issues; veterans' group support hinges on moving away from oil imports

Published on: Jan 8, 2014

A Des Moines, Iowa-based veterans affairs group on Tuesday launched a television campaign focused on Washington, D.C., that addresses recently proposed changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard and supports ethanol use.

The group, which advocates for national security through public issue campaigns, will spend nearly $110,000 on the campaign, which also runs in Des Moines.

Votevets.org jumped in the ethanol fight just after the Environmental Protection Agency's November proposal to reduce RFS mandates. The agency cited concerns that producing the mandated amount of renewable fuel would push volumes higher than what could be blended into the fuel supply.

Non-ag interests weigh in on RFS issues; veterans group support hinges on moving away from oil imports
Non-ag interests weigh in on RFS issues; veterans' group support hinges on moving away from oil imports

However, the group says using more ethanol and getting behind policy that supports ethanol production is a matter of security.

In the latest campaign, the group argues that although the U.S. doesn't often buy oil directly from hostile nations, America’s dependence on oil drives up demand and prices of oil on the world market, benefitting all oil-rich nations.

The ad, which the group says will be one of many, opens with an explosion in front of a military convoy. It features Michael Connolly, an Iraq war veteran and former Iowa resident, who suggests that purchasing ethanol blends is a way to support the troops and funnel less money to the enemy.

"But the oil companies are trying to kill renewable fuels," he continues, noting recent concerns with the RFS. "Tell the EPA to stand up for renewable fuels – don't cut the Renewable Fuel Standard."

The group, along with other proponents, suggests that ethanol production creates jobs and can benefit rural economies. They say the U.S. Department of Energy has estimated that for every one billion gallons of ethanol produced, 10,000 to 20,000 jobs are added to the U.S. economy.

Opponents, however, say that the policy fosters an unfair marketplace advantage to corn and ethanol producers and can drive up input costs for livestock feeders.

View the TV spot below.