Congressman Bob Dold’s Payback to Big Oil at Illinois’ Expense

After Racking Up Over $80K in Campaign Donations from the Oil Industry, Dold Signs Letter to EPA Written by Oil Lobbyists Smearing the Renewable Fuel Standard,  Even As It Supports Thousands of Jobs in IL-10 and Gives Consumers Cheaper, Cleaner Choices at the Pump

Washington DC (November 19, 2015) -- Americans United for Change challenged Bob Dold (R-IL-10) to stop putting oil money before Illinois jobs in response to a poison pen letter the Congressman sent to the Environmental Protection Agency that makes false charges against the Renewable Fuel Standard as the Obama administration is in the process of finalizing ethanol volume obligations under the policy.

Despite the fact that the ethanol industry supports over 72,000 Illinois jobs (3,200 jobs in the 10th District alone) and generates $4.7 billion in wages in the state annually, Dold is siding instead with the oil industry that wants to see its cheaper, clean ethanol competition put out-of-business and that also happened to contribute over $80,000 to the Congressman’s campaigns.

The credibility of the anti-RFS letter signed by Dold and other climate-science denying lawmakers has been called into question after it was revealed that it was penned directly by oil industry lobbyists. According to Bloomberg: “A lobbyist for refiner Marathon Petroleum Corp. was listed as an author of early drafts of what was distributed to lawmakers for them to sign on.”

Jeremy Funk, Communications Director, Americans United for Change: “When Big Oil is putting the words in Congressman Dold’s mouth, he’s not speaking for Illinois’ economic interests. Dold is parroting the oil industry’s “blend wall” falsehood that they can’t blend any more ethanol into the fuel supply. They most certainly can, they’re just refusing to do so by not upgrading infrastructure and even threatening gas station owners who try to sell higher blends of renewable fuels. And it’s laughable that Big Oil’s puppets now claim the manufactured blend crisis will lead to higher pump prices when it was revealed this month that the oil industry is withholding at least a billion dollars in saving from consumers based on previous oil vs. gas price trends. Bottom line: Big Oil is the problem and the solution to the so-called “blend wall”.

“It’s clear what’s going on here. Big Oil is gritting their teeth over the fact that over the last 10 years the RFS has successfully displaced nearly 1.9 billion barrels of foreign oil with cleaner homegrown fuels like ethanol. Every gallon of ethanol sold means one gallon less sold of gasoline made from dirty oil, and that means smaller bonuses for oil execs. It’s all about money and Big Oil doesn’t care where their product comes from, including hostile overseas regions, just as long as they can sell it for as high a price as possible.

“Big Oil doesn’t need or deserve any more special treatment from Washington. They already get $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies every year despite making huge profits. By calling on the EPA to undermine the oil industry’s renewable fuels competition, Congressman Dold is only biting the hand that helps feed Illinois’ economy. In addition to the 73,000 jobs the ethanol industry supports in Illinois, the choice of cleaner, homegrown renewable fuels at the pump has saved consumers as much a $1.09 per gallon.  The RFS is also smart policy for the environment and our national security. Numerous independent academic studies have shown that ethanol use significantly cuts down carbon emissions compared to gasoline made from dirty fossil fuels, and a strong RFS will lead to innovation towards even cleaner renewable fuels of tomorrow. And there’s no better example of why it’s important that the RFS significantly reduces our nation’s dependence on foreign oil than the revelation that ISIS controls over 60 percent of Syria’s oil production and banks $4 million a day in oil revenue that helps fund their terrorist activity. 

“Congressman Dold ought to get his priorities in order. If he values Illinois jobs, he should help build on the RFS’s success and encourage more production and choice of homegrown alternatives like ethanol. If he really wants to do what’s best for our national security, environment and economy, he should reduce his own dependence on oil contributions.”