Anti-ethanol Lobby Launches "Food Before Fuel Campaign"

Anyone looking for evidence about the massive challenge lawmakers face in trying to reduce fuel prices needs to look no further than the escalating fight over ethanol subsidies.

Right about the same time oil executives are set to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on the politically charged issue of skyrocketing gas prices, a broad coalition of agricultural interests, grocers, anti-poverty groups and environmental advocates will launch an aggressive campaign to rollback federal subsidies for corn-based ethanol.

The "Food Before Fuel Campaign" will launch its national outreach effort at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, on Thursday. The rollout has been organized by a broad coalition of agriculture interests and the Grocery Manufacturers Association. These groups are among the chorus of other interests - and legislators - arguing that federal subsidies for corn-based ethanol are contributing to rising food costs.

"The main goal of the coalition is to get Congress to freeze/roll back food to fuel ethanol mandates" and convince the Massachusetts attorney general to petition the Environmental Protection Agency "for relief from ethanol mandates," according to an e-mail circulated by public relations firm organizing this effort.

So while oil execs are explaining their healthy profits as the result of rising prices at the pump, this new coalition will be waging its campaign to make sure subsidised ethanol is not among the ways to reduce them.