Growth Energy Responds to Flawed Study Designed to Keep Us Addicted to Oil

WASHINGTON, DC — In response to a significantly flawed study on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) released by the University of Tennessee and sponsored by Big Oil, Tom Buis, co-chairman of Growth Energy, issued the following statement:

“Clearly this study was published with an agenda and without regard to the facts. It is misleading, inaccurate and runs counter to a large body of expert research. Slapping a new title on this previously discredited research won’t change the facts, and those who published this study clearly have little interest in doing anything other than maintaining the status quo of our dangerous addiction to foreign oil and fossil fuels.

“When you separate the facts from the rhetoric, it’s clear that this is a special interest study bought and paid for by Big Oil. While the ethanol industry voluntarily gave up its tax credits in 2011, oil companies have received government handouts for over a century. They currently receive five billion dollars in subsidies a year in the U.S., and hundreds of billions worldwide. Furthermore, the EPA Administrator has noted that the RFS has been a key component of the administration’s push to stem the tide of climate change.

“With regards to the environmental benefits of ethanol, the facts are clear. According to Argonne National Laboratory, – an objective national laboratory – ethanol reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by an average of 34 percent compared to gasoline, even when the highly controversial and disputed theory on Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) is factored into the modeling. Furthermore, Argonne has found that without ILUC included, ethanol reduces GHG emissions by 57 percent compared to gasoline.

“Side by side, ethanol wins every time when it comes to the environment. How are the ecologically devastating spills like Deepwater Horizon, which dumped more than 200 million gallons of oil and polluted an area in the Gulf of Mexico the size of Oklahoma, so easily forgotten? Because of one spill, beaches were closed, ecosystems destroyed and local economies decimated. In 2013 there were 7,662 spills, oils leaks and blowouts, averaging approximately 20 spills per day. No beach has ever been closed due to an ethanol spill. When it comes to environmental benefits, can anyone seriously believe that oil is better than biodegradable ethanol that burns cleaner, is renewable, and improves air quality? Not to mention, a recent study by the University of Montana found that, ‘between 2000 and 2012, about 7 million acres – the rough equivalent of three Yellowstone National Parks – was given over to well pads and related roads.’ Yet Big Oil is undeterred by hard data that shows their history of environmental damage, with an interest only in stopping the development of renewable fuels by urging the repeal of the RFS.

“Predictably , another critical component that was unsurprisingly left out of the University of Tennessee’s report is that ethanol, with its high octane content, reduces the need to add known carcinogens such as benzene and 1-3 butadiene to gasoline to bolster octane and engine performance. Additionally, ethanol plays a major role in reducing ultra-fine particulates in exhaust emissions – particles that are linked to a large number of adverse health outcomes

“Finally, the RFS limits corn ethanol to 15 billion gallons, with the remaining 21 billion gallons coming from advanced biofuels. Additionally, there is an inextricable link between first generation corn based ethanol and next generation fuels such as cellulosic ethanol. Third Way, a centrist think tank outlined this in a report, explaining that in 2015, 88 percent of cellulosic biofuel capacity will have a direct link to first generation production.

“The renewable fuels industry is a win-win for America. We are creating jobs and revitalizing rural economies, as well as improving our environment and decreasing our dependence on foreign oil – all while providing consumers a choice and savings at the pump. Biofuel producers are working to meet the energy needs of America, while Big Oil is desperate to maintain their 90 percent monopoly on the motor fuels market and are willing to do anything to protect their bottom, profits and the status quo.”

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