Perhaps the biggest obstacle dangling before the industry—as reflected in today's announcement and news of the new group's upcoming advertising campaign—is sagging public opinion, resulting, in part, from a successful lobbying campaign launched against ethanol earlier this year. Dinneen and others blame the leaders of the Grocery Manufacturers of America, who allied this past spring with livestock farmers, restaurant producers, and other groups to protest against rapidly rising corn costs and shrinking profit margins and singled out ethanol production as a main culprit.
Their efforts were coordinated by a powerhouse D.C. lobbying and public relations firm, the Glover Park Group. So, pro-ethanol forces hit back. This summer, superbusiness Archer Daniels Midland, one of the nation's leading ethanol producers, teamed up with other agribusiness to launch a first wave of response. Now comes the Growth Energy campaign, which includes the heads of POET, the nation's largest ethanol producer, and ICM, the industry's leading technology provider.
Once he takes office in January, Obama will have to navigate these conflicting claims.