Ethanol at a crossroad

It’s farmers vs. anti-ethanol individuals as the Environmental Protection Agency nears a decision on an ethanol mandate.

An anti-ethanol campaign has launched in several corn states — Minnesota isn’t one of them — calling on the EPA not to require a higher blend of ethanol with gasoline.

It debuted in Indiana today, the Indianapolis Star says.

There still aren’t many vehicles that can handle more than 10 percent ethanol and the demand for the product has flattened. But the EPA is considering mandating an increase of the amount of ethanol that’s blended into the nation’s gasoline.

A group of lawmakers last week sent a letter to EPA administrator Gina McCarthy warning of the danger of requiring more ethanol.

Bloomberg reported that the letter, however, was written by Marathon Oil Company.

“This letter has Big Oil’s fingerprints all over it,” Wesley Spurlock, president of National Corn Growers, told Bloomberg. “The letter includes false attacks on ethanol that have been disproven time and again. The blend wall is a false construct. We have known from the beginning that eventually we would need higher blends of ethanol to meet the statutory requirements. That was the point: to replace fossil fuels with renewables. The oil industry doesn’t want to hear that. That’s why they have spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to repeal the RFS, even to the point of having their lobbyists write this letter.”