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Roll Call Reveals Who's Beating Up on Ethanol

May 14, 2008
Anna Smith of Roll Call today filed a story on how the Grocery Manufacturers Association is "leading an 'aggressive' public relations campaign for the past two months in an effort to roll back ethanol mandates that passed in last year’s energy bill." GMA hired Glover Park Group to run the campaign, Smith writes, based on GMA’s request for proposal and Glover Park’s response.
In its RFP, the GMA outlined a four-part approach: building 'a global center-left coalition,' which includes environmental, hunger, food aid, poverty, development, senior, children, business, nutrition, farm consumer and labor groups; taking advantage of the 'extraordinary earned media opportunities' caused by rising food prices; mobilizing local food banks and 'other local opinion leaders in key states and districts'; and hiring 'trusted third-party experts' to document the effect of fuel mandates on, among other things, global hunger and poverty, job losses in the food industry, and inflation.

In its 21-page answer, a copy of which was also obtained by Roll Call, Glover Park laid out a hard-hitting plan with two main goals for the campaign.

'First, we must obliterate whatever intellectual justification might still exist for corn-based ethanol among policy elites. ... Second, we must demonstrate to policy makers at the state and federal level that there is a political price to allowing ethanol policy to drive up the cost of food,' Glover Park wrote.

In order to do that, Glover Park said the campaign must 'clearly show the direct and irrefutable link between corn-based ethanol policy and the variety of harms caused by that policy, above all food price inflation' the lobbying and public affairs shop noted, must be that 'this is a "Now" issue that is fast reaching crisis proportions for American consumers.'

Foodand wrote an analysis, "Big Food's Big Food Fight Finally Featured.

The Illinois Corn Growers Association also wrote a feature on the revelation, pointing out, "Ethanol is reducing gasoline prices up to 40 cents a gallon right now. So you think an industry that ships its products on average of 1,500 miles to consumers would see the benefits, but apparently the idea of returning to their golden days of $2 corn was too enticing." The National Corn Growers Association's CornCommentary blog calls it, "Grocery Manufacturers Association’s paid effort to smack down corn farmers in a bid to justify the high cost of processed foods at the grocery store."