Federal ethanol subsidies are hardly dead. They are still a key controversy in climate change, air pollution, the automotive industry, agricultural markets, food prices, budget wars, and the 2012 presidential race. No wonder the media mob descending on Iowa for the Aug. 13 straw poll is getting a free banquet of PR pitches.
"Ethanol supporters, on the defensive since the last Iowa caucus cycle, have decided to do some educational outreach this year to the estimated 600-plus media reprersentatives who will come to Iowa for the Aug. 13 straw poll in Ames.
Reporters have been invited to tour the Dave and Rhonda Birchmier farm near Maxwell on Tuesday and see the Lincolnway Energy ethanol plant and a cattle feedlot at Nevada and Iowa State University's BioCentury Research Farm on Friday.
The Dahl's supermarket at 35th Street and Ingersoll Avenue in Des Moines will host test-drives of E85 flex-fuel vehicles on Wednesday, including a Mercedes Benz, for those reporters who wish to know what an 85 percent ethanol ride feels like.
'Most of the media who cover politics don't cover energy, so they're really not well informed about energy issues,' said Monte Shaw of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. 'Ethanol has become a dirty word, and a lot of it is because reporters outside of the Midwest just aren't familiar with biofuels and the issues.'
The 'Iowans Fueled With Pride' tent on the grounds of Hilton Coliseum, sponsored by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association and others promoting ethanol and biodiesel, will be joined by the Iowa Energy Forum, which represents major oil companies, and the American Wind Energy Association."