Hundreds of thousands of people are waiting for the US Environmental Protection Agency to issue its final ruling on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Over 110,000 signatures were collected by the group VoteVets.org (often politically active on energy issues), which delivered its petition with Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. Over 35,000 of those signatures were from veterans and military family members.

VoteVets.org is a veteran group that believes that the US needs more homegrown energy, not dependence on foreign oil. Congressman Braley represents the corn-growing, ethanol-producing state of Iowa, where over 1,000 of these signatures were collected. They've asked the EPA to protect the RFS and not give in to Big Oil, and recently met with EPA senior staff members to voice their concerns.

"The RFS improves our economy and contributes to our energy independence-and the EPA needs to understand that Americans don't support their misguided attempt to alter a law that's working so well," said Braley in the press release available below.

For Jon Soltz, VoteVets.org chairman and an Iraq war veteran, the issue is clear cut – standing up to Big Oil is the same as standing up for US troops. Soltz said that if we're less dependent on oil by using more biofuels, oil prices will decline. And our enemies (his word) like to see high oil prices so they can use petroleum industry profits against US troops. Ethanol is a key part of ensuring that "America's dependence on oil is decreased," according to Soltz. One oil-rich country that the veterans group would like to see blocked is Iran; while the US hasn't gone directly to war with Iran, there's a reference in the press release to a 2007 incident where Iran produced and shipped Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFPs) to Iraqi insurgents, who used them to target US troops.
VETERANS JOINED BY REP. BRUCE BRALEY IN DELIVERING OVER 100,000 PETITION SIGNATURES TO EPA, CALLING ON IT TO STAND UP TO BIG OIL AND PROTECT OUR TROOPS BY KEEPING THE RENEWABLE FUEL STANDARD STRONG

WASHINGTON, DC – The largest progressive group of veterans in America, VoteVets.org, today was joined by Congressman Bruce Braley in delivering over 110,000 petition signatures (including over 1000 signatures from Iowans) to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, calling on the agency to protect the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The EPA comment period on the issue is coming to a close, and the agency is expected to announce a decision soon on the future of the RFS. The petition was delivered in a meeting with EPA Senior Staff.

"The 110,000 people that voiced their opinion on the critical importance of the Renewable Fuel Standard deserve to be heard," Braley said. "The RFS improves our economy and contributes to our energy independence-and the EPA needs to understand that Americans don't support their misguided attempt to alter a law that's working so well."

"This issue is clear cut," said Jon Soltz, Iraq War Veteran, and Chairman of VoteVets.org. "The less dependent on oil we are, the lower the prices become worldwide. Our enemies often benefit from the rising prices of oil – even those we do not buy oil from – and use those dollars against us and our troops. This is an issue of protecting our men and women in uniform, and the EPA must do its part to ensure America's dependence on oil is decreased, not increased. Ethanol is a key part of making that happen. Now is the time for the EPA to stand up to big oil, and stand up for our troops."

Of the 112,812 signatures collected, over 35,000 were from veterans and military family members. More than 1,060 comments were from Iowans, including over 320 Iowa veterans and military family members.

The facts back up those who signed the petition. Although the United States often does not directly buy oil from hostile nations, like Iran, America's dependence on oil drives up demand, and prices of oil on the world market, which benefits all oil-rich nations. Those oil dollars allowed Iran, for instance, to produce and ship Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFPs) to Iraqi insurgents, who used them to target our troops.1

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates for every one billion gallons of ethanol produced, 10,000 to 20,000 jobs are added to our domestic economy.2 According to the Iowa Corn Growers Association, the ethanol Industry supports around 55,000 jobs in Iowa, and accounts for $5.4 billion of Iowa's GDP.3 Gutting the RFS would threaten the development of next generation biofuels, including cellulosic ethanol plants in Iowa scheduled to start operation next year. Rather than using kernels of corn, these advanced plants will make the fuel from the "biomass" of various low-value plant material including corn stalks and wood chips.

Founded in 2006, and backed by over 360,000 supporters, the mission of VoteVets.org is to use public issue campaigns and direct outreach to lawmakers to ensure that troops abroad have what they need to complete their missions, and receive the care they deserve when they get home. VoteVets.org also recognizes veterans as a vital part of the fabric of our country and will work to protect veterans' interests in their day-to-day lives. VoteVets.org is committed to the destruction of terror networks around the world - with force when necessary - to protect America. While non-partisan, the group is the largest progressive organization of veterans in America.

Sources:

1 http://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-sees-new-weapon-in-iraq-iranian-efps/

2 http://www.growthenergy.org/ethanol-issues-policy/economy/

3 http://www.iowacorn.org/en/ethanol/


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 47 Comments
      Vlad
      • 1 Year Ago
      As a tree hugging homosexual progressive communist that votes for Obama I can't wait for corn ethanol to go away. It is an embodiment of greenwash and corporate welfare.
      Marco Polo
      • 1 Year Ago
      The US imports only a small percentage of its oil from the middle east, but the US has a very valuable export trade to middle eastern countries. More importantly the US is still the main investment destination for many oil rich nations. The infow of investment "petro-dollars" , is very important to the US economy. As a former serviceman myself, I'm always saddened when I see Veterans being used by any lobby group to peddle propaganda. In this case its the increasingly desperate Renewable Fuels Association. This lobby group will stoop to any means, no matter how dishonest, or disingenuous, including the cynical use of Veterns, to prevent the EPA finally acting to reduce the massive environmental and economic damage created by corn-ethanol production. Farm belt politicians, and corn lobbyists, such as the RFA, Iowa Corn Growers Association etc , along with the lobbyists representing Big Ag, are fighting to preserve the right for the US government to force US motorists to use a product, they don't want, simply to preserve an industry that's more environmentally harmful, than than the oil products its supposed to replace.
        Mark Schaffer
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Marco Polo
        Since oil prices are determined by WORLD demand and supply it is irrelevant how much of the oil the U.S. consumes comes from any specific area. Also, your claim that ethanol is necessarily more environmentally harmful than using crude oil is out of date at best: http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_vehicles/smart-transportation-solutions/cleaner_fuels/ethanol-and-other-biofuels/the-truth-about-ethanol.html
          Greg
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Mark Schaffer
          As for specific area, it is still best to keep our fuel production close to home because while it may not make anything cheaper, it does keep those dollars in our own economy instead of someone else's. Oil imports--to all supplying countries--is a significant contributor to our trade deficit, and we would be a whole lot better off closing that deficit.
        Joeviocoe
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Marco Polo
        Hmmm.... interesting. So the powerful, "Farm belt politicians, and corn lobbyists, such as the RFA, Iowa Corn Growers Association etc , along with the lobbyists representing Big Ag"..... do not constitute a "Conspiracy"... yet, they use dishonest, or disingenuous, tactics to force Americans into a product they neither need nor want. Hmmm... I will just refer back to this... next time you want me to explain how my position on the Hydrogen Lobby is not a "conspiracy".
          Marco Polo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          @ Joeviocoe, Yep, you're quite right, it's not a conspiracy, because there's no element of secrecy. Most large industries use a wide range of methods to affect public opinion and policies, that's just the nature of modern business. The use of seemingly independent or innocuous 'front' organisations, has been a well known tactic for tactic, since Roman times. Deplorable, underhanded, but not really conspiratorial. Conspiracies require an element of corrupt secrecy .
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Agreed, neither the Corn/Ethanol debacle, nor the Hydrogen/NatGas debacle,..... are conspiracies. And they do not need to be conspiracies, to be a very bad thing for us all.
        JB
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Marco Polo
        If ~64,000 Barrels a Month is small I guess you are right. That is ~23%. (EIA Nov 2013)
          Marco Polo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @JB
          @ JB The US also imports oil for refining into oil product which it re-exports giving US refineries value added products, which assists the US trade balance and provides US employment.
          JB
          • 1 Year Ago
          @JB
          I'm not for Ethanol either until it has a good EROEI.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 1 Year Ago
      "One oil-rich country that the veterans group would like to see blocked is Iran.." We already have an embargo on Iranian products to the US. We don't get any oil from them. Surely, they're not suggesting that the US prevent other nations from buying Iranian oil. http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/programs/documents/iran.pdf
        2 wheeled menace
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        The ironic part is that we funded Iran's nuclear program under the 'atoms for peace' program. And that's a point of contention now. Their government has been overthrown a few times by western nations and had puppet leaders installed. And now we are keeping medicine and food from their citizens with heavy sanctions. We wonder why they hate us? our government seems to be great at making enemies and creating blowback. But we should still abandon oil from the middle east anyway. We have been leaking our wealth for far too long.
          mylexicon
          • 1 Year Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          @ Joe You don't know very much about refining and processing, do you? I don't know a great deal either, but I know that oil has many unique chemical properties, and special equipment is required to refine various grades of oil. That's why oil has so many different benchmarks, like Western Select, WTI, Bonny Light, Brent, Tapis Gold, Bayou Sweet, etc. To process and refine, you need to know exactly what you're dealing with. This is particularly true of certain petrochemical processors who will only buy certain benchmarks and grades for refinement. If oil was a fungible commodity, we wouldn't have the blending industry, whose soul purpose is to make crude a more fungible and flexible substance. However, blending has chemical limitations and economic limitations, and it doesn't represent the crude we pull out of the ground. http://www.ogj.com/articles/2014/02/eagle-ford-crude-prompts-upgrades-at-valero-s-texas-refineries.html http://beaconnews.ca/blog/2014/02/husky-energy-upgrades-us-refinery-to-process-canadian-heavy-crude/
          mylexicon
          • 1 Year Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          @ Spec November 2013 Oil Imports (barrels per month) Canada ----------------- 93,113,000 Saudi Arabia ---------- 46,720,000 Mexico ------------------ 30,422,000 Venezuela ------------- 23,868,000 About 20% of our imports come from the Persian Gulf (64M bbl per month), and oil is not a particularly fungible commodity.
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          Well, at this point the USA pretty much receives near zero oil from the mid-east. We get it from Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, and domestic mostly. But oil is fungible. Oil bought anywhere helps oil producers that sell anywhere.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          "And now we are keeping medicine and food from their citizens with heavy sanctions." Medicines and food are exempt from our sanctions. Iran can bring in as much of those as they want. http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/hum_exp_iran.pdf
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          --"But oil is fungible. Oil bought anywhere helps oil producers that sell anywhere." Perfect summation. --"and oil is not a particularly fungible commodity." Um, you may want to learn what fungible means. Oil is a textbook example of a fungible commodity. Sure, there are limits to fungibility, but oil is still fungible enough to make this "percentage of oil production in North America" irrelevant and misleading at best. If Oil were produced within the U.S. borders and thus could be partially retained into the Strategic Petroleum Reserves, that would make it much less fungible. But Canada and Mexico are under no obligation to sell oil to the U.S. at low prices... so if the Middle East drops production, we feel it. Perhaps a bit delayed, but it will still hurt us bad.
        Marco Polo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        @ Letstakeawalk Because it worked so well in Cuba......
      diffrunt
      • 1 Year Ago
      Over the past 30 years, the federal government has given an estimated $45 billion to the corn industry to help support ethanol production. In 2011 alone, those subsidies totaled about $6 billion, or about 45 cents for every gallon of ethanol.
      Actionable Mango
      • 1 Year Ago
      So Braley wraps himself in a flag in order to use patriotism to support big agro over big oil and propose measures that bring home the bacon for his constituents. Whatever.
      m_2012
      • 1 Year Ago
      Just kill corn based ethanol already. Onto the next scam.
      diffrunt
      • 1 Year Ago
      Gasoline costs 10% more , gives 20% better mileage , does not damage stored engines like Efuel does.
      Bob
      • 1 Year Ago
      this 'vet' group does NOT represent most of the vets out here. In fact they are a fringe group most of us just want to go away. they really are about themselves. We DO NOT want any ethanol ion our gas - take it ALL out. Use corn for feed and other actual useful products!!!!!!!!!!!
        CoolWaters
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Bob
        Guess what, Bob. Capitalism does NOT Have American's Self Interest as any kind of Priority. Got it? These guys do. Ethanol is US made. And new more efficient Ethanol plants are being built. Standing up for Success for America is the New Liberal Way. Kissing an oil industry axx isn't.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Which is a laugh since the US Military uses a disproportionate share of the petroleum resources. Their biofuel experiment went downhill since that stuff cost 10 times what regular fuel costs. I don't think those jets are using ethanol or the like, and while biodiesel can be used for ground vehicles and others, the cost isn't competitive, especially if your budget is getting cut like everybody elses under the Sequester.
        JB
        • 1 Year Ago
        It cost more than that. In Afghanistan, it could cost (fully burdened) $400/ gallon of fuel.
        Joeviocoe
        • 1 Year Ago
        The reason for high fuel costs in Afghanistan... is logistics. The bases are remote, and the roads are crap. Most supplies are airlifted in (which is the real reason why AAFES stopped using coin currency, and gives servicemember cheap plastic pogs as change)
          JB
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Yes, its a logistics thing. In a hot area, you can just send a fuel rig down the road, it needs a shield of armored vehicles which guzzle down fuel on the way. The human cost of fuel convoys is often ignored too.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hm... tired of playing operation human shield to protect foreign oil investments, eh?
        Marco Polo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        @ 2 wheeled menace The irony of the US military adventure in Iraq, is that Iraq exports its oil production to the PRC, in tankers guarded by the US navy !
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Marco Polo
          The misconception is that a fungible product need be in a "single market".... as you suggested. Nobody said "single market"
          Marco Polo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Marco Polo
          @ Joeviocoe I don't know who invented this misconception that "oil is fungible" , but whoever it was has no idea of how international trade, or the oil industry works. There is no single "oil market'' or even oil price ! the market is split into different regions, and operates on largely on long term contracts. Many countries operate on a barter system, with complex financial arrangements. The US has largely written off it's Iraqi adventure, and the country is now so dysfunctional, and politically fragmented, that it no longer poses a serious threat to Israel or Iraq's US aligned small neighbours. @ 2SM, French government covert operatives, special forces and intelligence agents, acted, in concert with NATO to effect regime change in Libya. The motive behind the destruction of Libya and the murder of Muammar Gaddafi, was conceived and executed by the French government at the behest of Total Oil. (partly owned by the government of France). Muammar Gaddafi's fatal mistake, was to stop selling oil to Total Oil (and its allies), and agree to sell to the PRC's CNOOC Group. When the PRC sent ships to protect its interests and the lives of its citizens, the US Med fleet, blocked the mission. an angry and humiliated PRC, has now allocated $ 2.4 trillion in a 10 year Navel nuclear armament program. The world grew a little less safe.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Marco Polo
          It really doesn't matter the destination of tankers. Oil is fungible... so if China didn't buy Iraq's oil, that would cause the economics of global oil sales to shift. The point of the U.S. military protecting shipments is not to ensure the destination gets oil, but to ensure the supply can sell oil.... since it behooves the U.S. to make sure Iraq's economy grows rapidly.... and that means export export export.
          2 wheeled menace
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Marco Polo
          It's not ironic Marco; our government owes China a lot of money and securing oil for them is probably some form of retribution for debt :P
          raktmn
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Marco Polo
          There has been a US military presence in the Gulf protecting oil lanes long before either Gulf War II or even Gulf War I. That is because US companies also export out of the various Gulf nations, even if that oil exported by US oil companies don't go to the United States.
      • 1 Year Ago
      EPA's RFS is currently subsidizing the import of Brazilian sugarcane ethanol and the export of US gasoline to South American and US diesel to Europe. How does that promote US energy independence? EPA admits that RFS is currently killing 245 Americans a year more than use of straight gasoline because of INCREASED particulate and ozone pollution of E10 and E85. They also admit RFS is increasing GHG emissions because most of the current feedstocks and paths achieve negative GHG reductions. How does this promote US health or climate or national security? The ammonia fertilizer used to cultivate biofuels is made from natural gas. The fuel for the tractors is made from petroleum. The energy used in the processing plants is overwhelmingly from fossil fuel. Cultivation requires non-renewable minerals such as potash (75% imported), fixed nitrogen (45% imported) and phosphate (11% imported). Biofuels are not fully renewable, clean, green, or even a domestic product. How does being more dependent upon non-renewable imported minerals than upon imported crude oil (11% from Persian Gulf) improve US national security? How does having an energy supply susceptible to drought, frost, blight, or mineral embargo improve national security? BTW, the recent tripling of propane prices is because corn farmers harvested their corn wet this year because of the threat of an early frost and dried it in silos with unprecedented amounts of propane. 44% of this year's corn crop was for ethanol -- more corn for our gas tanks than the entire grain harvest of Russia. How does using 32 times as much fossil fuel to create a BTU of ethanol energy instead of a BTU of gasoline reduce our dependence on foreign oil or improve national energy security? (hint, EROI of corn is 1.25:1, EROI of gasoline is more than 20:1) VoteVets.org is a clueless pack of politicized dupes and/or thinly veiled hired lobbyists trading on the good name of our troops. They have as much understanding of energy and of US national security as Ray Mabus and his "all of the above" boss in the White House. BTW, if you think "all of the above" is a winning strategy, try it on the roulette wheel in Vegas. But use your own money, not the taxpayers'. It is a costly education.
        Marco Polo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ Cliff Claven. Well said, very well said indeed ! However, much as I appreciate the reasoning behind your comment, it shouldn't be forgotten that many Veterans are well intentioned and sincere, just misled, and badly misinformed. When (and it's only a matter of time) the mandate is removed, along with the infamous fraudulent RIN scams, and the US corn-ethanol industry ceases to exist, it will be economically painful for those farm states to adjust, and those involved in the corn-ethanol industry will need US federal assistance to help them deal with the closure of this industry. Why should the government (taxpayer) assist ? Because the Industry was created and only exists because of ill-conceived government policies. The sooner the mandate for corn-ethanol is abolished, the sooner (and more ) economical the period of readjustment. Maybe, the funds could be spent cleaning up some of the massive environmental damage, and any surplus corn could feed hungry Central Americans, who would no longer cut down precious rainforest.
          EVnerdGene
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Marco Polo
          @Marco, "Maybe, the funds could be spent . . . " Bloke, do you work for government? As soon as a politician figures he should defund something, he proposes a way to blow more. --- Can't it just reduce deficit spending??? --- @ Cliff Claven Most excellent !!! I've been an ethanol opponent for decades and have never seen such a succinct argument.
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      Oh jeez, stop. Biofuels will never amount to more than a very small percent of the transportation fuel we use. You gotta go electric if you want to use less oil.
        Ryan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        10% is a pretty good chunk. 10% less revenue for the big oil companies, and possibly 15% (if they used that much ethanol in each gallon) would make a difference.
    • Load More Comments