In Iowa, Biden Urged to Clarify Disturbing Reports about His Role in Renewable Fuel Backtrack

Press Contact: T.J. Page


Full Page Des Moines Register Ad:  “Say It Ain’t So, Joe”

JOHNSTON, IOWA – As Vice President Joe Biden arrives in Iowa, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) is taking out a full page ad in today’s Des Moines Register to ask the Vice President to set the record straight on reports that he may have intervened to reverse the Obama Administration’s previous support for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) – and that he may have done so after receiving a call from a Pennsylvania congressman on behalf of a refinery owned by the politically connected Carlyle Group.

Biden’s office and the Vice President himself has avoided questions about the reports by Reuters and the Philadelphia Inquirer, which are strikingly at odds with his otherwise strong record of support for renewable fuels, including as a Presidential candidate himself in 2007.  In the wake of those reports, IRFA and almost two dozen individuals and organizations involved in Iowa’s renewable fuels industry wrote a letter to the Vice President asking him to clarify the reports and to discuss the issue with Iowans.  Because he has thus far not responded, IRFA is now addressing the issue more publicly with Biden as he visits Iowa today.

The Des Moines Register advertisement comes just as the Obama-Biden Administration is poised to make a final decision on whether to go forward with a plan to reduce America’s renewable fuel production and allow oil companies to avoid their statutory obligation to make more low-cost, cleaner-burning renewable fuel available to consumers.  The debate also comes as Iowa is emerging as the global leader in cellulosic ethanol production, with three new advanced biorefineries coming online this year.

A PDF of the Des Moines Register ad is available here, and the text of the ad is below:

Say it ain’t so, Joe.

Mr. Vice President:

When you campaigned for President in 2007, you were one of the renewable fuels industry’s greatest champions. With the Obama Biden Administration’s strong support, Iowa’s renewable fuel industry has doubled its output and has begun producing cellulosic ethanol — the cleanest fuel in the world.

But in a stunning reversal late last year, the Administration proposed to gut the Renewable Fuel Standard — cutting America’s renewable fuel production and fundamentally changing the program to empower oil companies to prevent consumer access to more renewable fuel choices. According to Reuters, the change happened after a Pennsylvania congressman appealed to you directly on behalf of a Philadelphia refinery owned by the politically connected Carlyle Group.

This report, if true, is deeply troubling. We hope you’ll take the opportunity today to set the record straight. And more importantly, work with us to fix the Administration’s flawed proposal. It’s not too late – but we need your help.

Iowa is the nation’s leader in renewable fuels production. Iowa has 43 ethanol refineries capable of producing more than 3.8 billion gallons annually, including 22 million gallons of annual cellulosic ethanol production capacity and one cellulosic ethanol facility currently under construction. In addition, Iowa has 12 biodiesel facilities with the capacity to produce nearly 315 million gallons annually.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association was formed in 2002 to represent the state’s liquid renewable fuels industry. The trade group fosters the development and growth of the renewable fuels industry in Iowa through education, promotion, legislation and infrastructure development.