With fossil fuel the major source of greenhouse gas emissions from powering vehicles, ethanol is the logical substitute, Dineen writes in a guest column for The Hill. There's no other alternative fuel "at scale today that matches ethanol's ability to improve overall environmental quality," Dineen wrote.
So how could some environmentalists "gang up on American ethanol" and side with Big Oil against the biofuel, when ethanol is both renewable and much cleaner than gasoline? Dineen is particularly perturbed with Scott Faber, vice president of government affairs at the Environmental Working Group, for lambasting biofuels in his own recent blog post on The Hill.
No other alternative fuel "matches ethanol's ability to improve overall environmental quality."
Faber would like to see changes made to the federal RFS biofuels mandate, and criticized RFS along with efforts to increase gasoline to 15 percent ethanol (E15). Dineen found Faber's arguments confusing and contradictory – for backing up Big Oil's grain ethanol attack; for stating that RFS is failing to bring cellulosic ethanol to market; and that there's a costly infrastructure investment needed for fuel pumps and flex-fuel vehicles.
While Faber represents an environmental group, there's more to the story behind the scenes, according to Dineen. Prior to the Environmental Working Group, Faber was vice president for federal affairs at the Grocery Manufacturers Association. That trade association has been working with the American Petroleum Institute to repeal RFS.
Dineen thinks that there is hope for environmentalists who aren't being duped by these powerful lobbying groups. "For the great majority of rank-and-file environmentalists who aren't beholden to Big Oil or Big Food, ethanol's environmental advantages over gasoline are clear and compelling," he writes. Do his words strike a chord?