‘Chicago Clean with E15’ push expands as ordinance reaches Finance Committee

Online Staff Report

CHICAGO — Supporters of a cleaner, less expensive gasoline alternative on Monday, Dec. 8, will deliver a petition with 7,673 signatures to the Chicago City Council Finance Committee in support of the “Chicago Clean with E15” ordinance. The petition is accompanied by a campaign of print, radio and digital ads in support of a cleaner, less expensive choice for Chicago drivers.

Clearly, Chicagoans are ready for a cleaner choice at the pump,” said co-sponsor Ald. Anthony Beale. “The Chicago Clean with E15 Ordinance will clean the air and lower gas prices for the city’s drivers, while reducing our dependence on foreign oil and supporting jobs here in Illinois.”

The petition follows a poll showing a majority of Chicagoans support the ordinance, with only 30 percent opposed.

The volume and geography of the petition’s signatures reflect the depth and breadth of support for the ordinance within Chicago and throughout Illinois. The ordinance would require fuel stations in Chicago to offer E15, a fuel blend containing 15 percent ethanol, as an additional option.

Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, noted: “It’s no wonder that Chicagoans are overwhelmingly in support of this bill, which will create jobs in Illinois and across America that can’t be outsourced, strengthen our rural economy, and clean Chicago’s air. Not to mention, Chicago drivers will pay less at the pump and have the option to send their dollars back into Illinois’ economy, instead of increasing our reliance on foreign oil.”

Supporters of the bill have been active in the lead-up to Monday’s Finance Committee meeting, during which the committee will decide whether to send the bill to the full city council for consideration.

Co-sponsor Ald. Ameya Pawar said: “Chicago has time and again led the country in taking action to clean the air. The city banned leaded gasoline in 1984, and we banned toxic gasoline additives in 2000. This ordinance continues that tradition of environmental leadership and stewardship. I look forward to voting for it in committee and in full council, and I urge my colleagues to do the same.”

The campaign for the Chicago Clean with E15 ordinance has made a six-figure digital ad buy, including two-day takeovers of the advertising space on the Chicago Sun-Times and Crain’s Chicago websites. Along with the digital ads, a print ad ran last week highlighting the petroleum industry’s deceptions and another is running today. Radio ads began airing over the weekend and continue to air today.

The committee’s vote comes a few weeks after Travelers Motor Club and Association Motor Club Marketing, which serve vehicle owners in all 50 states, announced their backing of E15, with Gene Hammond, co-owner of both groups, saying: “Not one of our over 18 million members has called us with a problem related to the new E15 fuel or any ethanol blend. Travelers Motor Club and Association Motor Club Marketing support the use of E15 in vehicles as a safe and affordable alternative to gasoline.”

Additionally, a recent myth-busting effort from Media Matters in America — the premier media watchdog in the country — specifically highlighted that biofuels use will not harm the vast majority of vehicles and will not increase food prices.

The current version of the ordinance protects small retailers by exempting filling stations selling less than 850,000 gallons of fuel per year and a 360-day phase-in, reflecting negotiations with fuel industry stakeholders. Additionally, the Prime the Pump fund is poised to alleviate upgrade costs incurred by fuel station owners.

Posted Dec. 8, 2014

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