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Northwest Ohio ethanol producers dispute advertisement

LIMA — An advertisement shown around the state has Ohio corn growers and ethanol producers demanding it be stopped.

The ad, paid for by the American Council for Capital Formation and several other groups, says ethanol production is bad for the environment, raises food costs, and demands mandates for it should end. It also asks that Congress stop the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Local people involved in the ethanol industry spoke out against the ad during a conference call Wednesday morning.

Angela Tin, vice president of environmental health at the American Lung Association of the upper Midwest, was on the call and said ethanol has benefits such as the fact that it’s renewable, nontoxic and biodegradable. It also improves lung health, she said.

Members of the Ohio Ethanol Producers Association and Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association said the ad is “misleading” and talked about “evidence refuting” it.

“These claims simply aren’t backed up by the latest science,” said Mark Borer, president of the Ohio Ethanol Producers Association and general manager at the Leipsic POET ethanol facility.

Dave Banks, executive vice president of ACCF, responded in a statement.

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“I think these guys sometimes get lost in this weird, parallel universe in which they actually convince themselves that this mountain of damning, definitive science and data about corn ethanol’s environmental impact doesn’t exist, or that folks don’t actually know about it,” said Banks in the statement.

Borer and Tadd Nicholson, executive director of the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association, wrote a letter to the ACCF and Mike Oxley, an adviser to the council, asking that they stop showing the advertisements.

The ACCF is trying to influence the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency before it makes a decision on the target production volumes for 2014, 2015 and 2016 corn-based ethanol use at the end of the month, Borer said.

U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan released a statement about the topic, saying the country is close to or at the point where the Renewable Fuel Standard is requiring more ethanol to be blended in than can be used.

“The solution is to get rid of this mandate and move towards the free market,” Jordan said in the statement. “I am a cosponsor of legislation that would repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard and let the free market dictate what types of fuels consumers want most.”

After the RFS ends in 2022, it will be up to consumer choice, Borer said.

What’s driving the ads is that ethanol is at “a significant price advantage to gasoline,” Borer said, and the oil industry could potentially lose more of its market share to it. “They don’t want that.”

Though Nicholson and Borer’s organizations are asking for the ads to stop, their organizations don’t have the funds to run counter-ads.

“We’re never going to outspend them so we need to out-logic them,” Nicholson said.

Though the two groups say the facts presented in the ad are incorrect, Banks and the ACCF maintain that they are correct.

“It’s amazing these guys can even keep a straight face through this charade,” Banks said in the statement. “With Al Gore, Bill McKibben and numerous environmental groups across country sounding the alarm about corn ethanol’s impact on the climate, they have quite an uphill battle to convince the public they are right and everyone else is wrong.”

This article was written by Danae King from The Lima News, Ohio and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.