Progressive group pushes ethanol on Gulf oil spill anniversary

A progressive group is promoting ethanol on the anniversary of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

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Americans United For Change has launched a six-figure ad campaign in the Midwest, promoting the federal ethanol mandate in Des Moines, Iowa, and warning that efforts to repeal it could result in more incidents like the Deepwater Horizon spill. The oil drilling rig exploded five years ago Monday, killing 11 and eventually spilling 3.19 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

The ad is meant to target Republican presidential candidates — some of whom are wary about the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) — in the state that produces the most ethanol and hosts the nation's first presidential caucuses.

"It comes down to this: the more Big Oil drills, the more they spill," the group's president, Brad Woodhouse, said in a statement. "If lawmakers discourage innovation towards cleaner renewable fuels of tomorrow, Big Oil will only be encouraged to drill, and spill, more."

A separate ad campaign in Chicago promotes a proposed ordinance requiring gas stations offer a fuel made with a higher blend of ethanol.

Green groups and environmentally-minded lawmakers have used the anniversary of the Gulf oil spill to make the case against expanded off-shore oil drilling. Americans United for Change's ads come as the energy industry, environmental groups and lawmakers gear up for a larger fight over the 10-year-old ethanol mandate.