You Can't Play Both Sides

  • Thursday, 31 July 2014 00:00

As we get closer to the mid-term elections in November, expect to see ethanol and the biofuels industry-at-large getting caught in partisan crossfire throughout the corn belt states. One such event transpired in Iowa this week.

Before we go on, it's prudent for us to make the following disclaimer : The Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association is non-partisan and not affiliated with any political party. 

Now back to this week's events.

Iowa Republican Senate candidate, Joni Ernst, came under fire from the ethanol industry this week when she agreed to attend a fundraiser by none other than the American Petroleum Institute (API) and oil giant, Exxon Mobil in Washington, D.C.

After a barrage of criticism aimed at her from her rival and ethanol groups for attending that fundraiser, Ernst announced that she had written to EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy, and requested the agency not to go ahead with its proposed cuts to the 2014 RVO under the RFS.

It seems as though Ernst wants to be pro-Big Oil and pro-ethanol at the same time. Talk about a massive contradiction. While the timing of her letter is highly suspect (it did come a day after she was slammed as anti-ethanol), perhaps she truly believes in ethanol and all the good it's done for her state.

But you then wonder how her friends at API and Exxon Mobil -who want the RFS repealed - feel about that? Especially when they're the ones raising funds for her.

The sad thing is that she isn't the first nor will she be the last politician who tries to play both sides to her advantage. The real losers are the rest of us who advocate for ethanol because we understand how it has boosted our economy, reduced greenhouse gases, saved us at the pump and made America more energy independent. We see the biofuels industry as the answer to our nation's energy future, not as a ploy to gain some votes from the ag community.