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Misleading About Ethanol

The Barre Montpelier Times Argus

December 1, 2015

By Brooke Coleman

In “Ethanol is a bad deal for Vt.” (online Nov. 21), a group called the American Council for Capital Formation argues that ethanol is a bad deal for Vermonters economically and environmentally.

The allegations sound compelling, but Vermonters need to understand that these arguments are coming from oil-funded groups and lack basis in fact.

There is no better example than this one. The American Council for Capital Formation is funded by Exxon Mobil and Halliburton, among others. It is no coincidence that it spends much of its time smearing ethanol, the oil industry’s biggest competitor and political nemesis.

You have to give the group credit for trying to make absurd arguments look good. It argues that using ethanol transfers wealth to the American Midwest, where most ethanol is made. But Midwest ethanol is an alternative to Middle Eastern oil. So Vermont, the choice is yours.

The group attacks ethanol environmentally based on “independent” analysis. But the “University of Tennessee” study mentioned was funded by the ACCF. Oil companies also sponsored the “Princeton University” work they mention, and the negative ethanol polling.

Meanwhile, actual independent analysis from the Environmental Protection Agency, the California Air Resources Board and the Department of Energy confirms that using more ethanol and other biofuels reduces climate change emissions without significant land use impacts. The idea that ethanol increases gas prices is also preposterous, as the fuel has been up to $1 cheaper than gasoline per gallon for years.

The oil industry is smart. It invents creative arguments, pays for rigged research and pushes bad polling, then finds front groups to deliver it to unsuspecting Americans too busy to verify. Decide for yourself on ethanol. But check your sources, because these oil groups do not have Vermont interests at heart.

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