Commentary: Biofuels groups’ support of EPA raises question
Those who upset people involved in the biofuels industry can expect numerous associations and organizations to come out of the woodwork to express their opinion. That happened this week as six biofuel trade associations filed a motion in the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to intervene in the case American Petroleum Institute v. United States Environmental Protection Agency.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) is challenging the EPA’s Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2) 2012 final rule, and the six groups are “standing with EPA in its implementation of the requirements under the RFS, including the cellulosic biofuel volumes.”
The trade associations offering support of the EPA and its RFS2 rule are the Advanced Biofuels Association (ABFA), the American Coalition of Ethanol (ACE), the Advanced Ethanol Council (AEC), the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).
A successful challenge by API “would reduce the standards” set by Congress and EPA and deprive members of these associations supporting the EPA the “benefit of the investments made in reliance on Congress’ policy choices,” it was claimed in a news release from the RFA. The contention is that it would not be right for a change in policy after companies have made big investments looking long term to supply an increasing supply of biofuels.
Now that I’ve given all the details necessary about this case to get it out of the way, I think it worth asking how many associations, total pro and con, of biofuels exist in this country or worldwide. I actually know that there are a couple less than just a few years ago because some have merged.
My contention also is that there are many associations that have expressed interests of support or opinions against biofuels, most without a name recognized as having an interest in the biofuels industry. I doubt we could ever count them all. A prime example would be the National Association of Corn Growers.
I’ve heard people say, “There’s an association for everything possible.” I agree, and I think there are numerous associations specifically interested in various individual topics.
I sometimes wonder if some associations simply exist to have their own payroll, and money supporting the association is a pay check to an association officer or two. You don’t really have to be very big to have an association name that sounds important.
And the number of associations seems to increase as the money involved increases. How much bigger can you get than the money spent on energy throughout the world.
Couldn’t a bigger association, maybe a merger of three small associations with similar interests, have more clout and resources to accomplish more things than three little associations buzzing around?
I’m not saying that supporters of the biofuels industry are divided into pesky little bug-type associations, but all the alphabet soup synonyms for associations in the original court filing news release made me wonder.