Ethanol Industry Fights Big Oil With Led Zeppelin Songs

In this handout from the White House, U.S. President Barack Obama talks with the surviving members of Led Zeppelin John Paul Jones, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page during intermission at the Kennedy Center Honors on December 12, 2012 in Washignton, D.C.
National Journal
Ben Geman
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Ben Geman
Jan. 21, 2014, 8:49 a.m.

These are try­ing times for the eth­an­ol in­dustry, which is locked in a polit­ic­al battle against oil com­pan­ies and re­cently got some bad news from the En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Agency.

But the head of a ma­jor in­dustry trade group, the Re­new­able Fuels As­so­ci­ation, is find­ing in­spir­a­tion in rock le­gends Led Zep­pelin and a cov­er band that per­forms the songs of the icon­ic group. Here’s RFA Pres­id­ent Bob Din­neen on Tues­day us­ing the band’s song titles to send a mes­sage to the oil in­dustry:

“Much like the titles of le­gendary Led Zep­pelin songs, there will al­ways be ‘Good Times, Bad Times,’ but no mat­ter what, the Re­new­able Fuels As­so­ci­ation will con­tin­ue to ‘Ramble On’ fight­ing for con­sumer choice and ac­cess to low-cost, re­new­able fuel. Big Oil’s at­tempts to thwart our ef­forts to in­crease Amer­ica’s en­ergy in­de­pend­ence and send us ‘Over the Hills and Far Away’ leaves me ‘Sick Again,’ and at times it feels like we are be­ing ‘Trampled Un­der­foot’ by the pet­ro­leum in­dustry. But mark my words, big oil, ‘Your Time Is Gonna Come,’ be­cause the value-ad­ded be­ne­fits of eth­an­ol are pav­ing the ‘Stair­way to Heav­en.’ ‘The Song Re­mains the Same’: Don’t mess with the RFS!”

He made the state­ment when an­noun­cing that the cov­er band Led Zep­pelin 2 would play at his trade group’s big con­fer­ence in Flor­ida in Feb­ru­ary.

The “RFS” he men­tioned after “The Song Re­mains the Same” is the re­new­able-fuel stand­ard, the eth­an­ol-in­dustry-backed fed­er­al man­date that re­quires grow­ing amounts of bio­fuels to be blen­ded in­to the na­tion’s fuel sup­ply.

EPA, in Novem­ber, pro­posed lower­ing the year-over-year bio­fuels blend­ing level for the first time, a de­feat for the eth­an­ol in­dustry that re­lies on the fed­er­ally man­dated mar­ket for its product.

And oil com­pan­ies are push­ing law­makers to dis­mantle the RFS com­pletely, call­ing it un­work­able.

The eth­an­ol-in­dustry trade group is wield­ing lob­by­ists in ad­di­tion to Led Zep­pelin song titles to parry at­tacks on the RFS and re­spond to EPA’s draft de­cision. The Re­new­able Fuels As­so­ci­ation’s re­cently filed fourth-quarter 2013 lob­by­ing re­port is here.

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