The largest progressive group of veterans in America, with over 360,000 supporters, VoteVets.org, is launching a powerful new television ad in Iowa, aimed at protecting the bipartisan Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The ad buy is nearly $110,000 for one week of time in the Des Moines market as well as in Washington, D.C., where it will be seen by decision makers on the issue. The group promised more ads will be coming in the next few weeks.
Today’s ad features an Iraq War Veteran, Michael Connolly, making the case that gutting the Renewable Fuel Standard would allow for a greater flow of oil dollars to our enemies, who use that money for weaponry that has targeted our troops. Connolly, who served in Iraq from 2007 to 2008, lived in Glenwood, Iowa from 2010 to 2012, and now lives just across the border, in Nebraska.
The ad opens with a massive explosion in front of a military convoy. Connolly says, “War is dangerous. I know. I was there. Now, people ask me all the time how they can support the troops.” Holding a yellow ribbon, Connolly says, “By putting one of these on your car? Sure…” And then in front of an ethanol gas pump, “By putting this in your tank? Even better… More renewable fuels, like the kind grown here in Iowa, means we use less foreign oil. And that means less money for our enemies. But the oil companies are trying to kill renewable fuels.”
The facts back up Connolly’s words. Although the United States often does not directly buy oil from hostile nations, like Iran, America’s dependence on oil drives up demand, and prices of oil on the world market, which benefits all oil-rich nations. Those oil dollars allowed Iran, for instance, to produce and ship Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFPs) to Iraqi insurgents, who used them to target our troops.1
Additionally, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates for every one billion gallons of ethanol produced, 10,000 to 20,000 jobs are added to our domestic economy.2 According to the Iowa Corn Growers Association, the ethanol Industry supports around 55,000 jobs in Iowa, and accounts for $5.4 billion of Iowa’s GDP.3 Gutting the RFS would threaten the development of next generation biofuels, including cellulosic ethanol plants in Iowa scheduled to start operation next year. Rather than using kernels of corn, these advanced plants will make the fuel from the “biomass” of various low-value plant material including corn stalks and wood chips.
VoteVets.org is one of the groups leading the way in calling for the EPA to protect the RFS, and is urging its members and supporters to, as well. Along with a coalition of groups, VoteVets.org is collecting petition signatures from everyday Americans who want to see us reduce our dependence on foreign oil, protect our troops, and create jobs.