Just days ago, Media Matters published internal e-mails showing Fox News' managing editor Bill Sammon instructing the network's reporters to cast doubt on climate science. Despite the exposure of this blatant attempt to slant Fox's coverage of issues related to climate change, Fox's assault on environmental regulations aimed at mitigating the effects of carbon emissions continues unabated.
On today's edition of Your World with Neil Cavuto, guest-host Brian Sullivan welcomed Chris Horner of the right-wing Competitive Enterprise Institute to discuss a pending lawsuit launched against the EPA by American automakers. Horner, a longtime dispenser of climate change misinformation, attacked the EPA for a recent ruling that would allow gasoline to contain up to 15 percent ethanol (up from 10 percent), claiming that the blended gas would destroy the engines of cars, lawnmowers, and "all those vehicles that you'll see on Sarah Palin's Alaska that nobody in the administration sees or wants to see."
Horner repeatedly refers to the ethanol mix as "moonshine" that will wreak havoc on a wide variety of engines used by Americans every day. Horner doesn't, however, have very much faith in the American consumer. He contends that the lure of cheaper E15 gasoline will lead unsuspecting consumers to fuel up with what will eventually erode their fuel lines. Horner goes so far as to claim that this will lead to "people putting gasoline in four fifths of the engines on the road that are not designed for it," which will eventually damage their engines and accomplish what he purports to be the Administration's purported "goal" of taking the "larger, more safe, more comfortable vehicles" off the road.
However, neither Horner nor Sullivan acknowledge that the EPA has established specific guidelines in its waiver allowing the use of E15 fuels. While Horner alludes to the fact that E15 is only approved for use in certain vehicles, he ignores the fact that the EPA has outlined specific guidelines which explain that only vehicles built after 2007 should use the fuel. Likewise, Horner makes no note of the warning labels consumers would have to ignore when fueling vehicles that explain that E15 is only for use in certain vehicles and machines.
While the specifics of such a label have not been finalized, the EPA specifically requires that "Labels must be placed on E15 retail dispensers indicating that E15 use is only for MY2007 and newer motor vehicles." The proposed label is bright orange, features the word "CAUTION!" and notes that "Federal law prohibits" the use of E15 in vehicles and engines made before 2007.
So Horner's argument then is that when everyday Americans go to the gas station, they will, in overwhelming numbers, either accidentally or knowingly choose to violate federal law and cause costly and potentially irreparable damage to their engines - all for slightly less expensive gas.
Horner's fearmongering about the impact of ethanol is unsurprising given his employer's close ties to big oil companies, who have an obvious financial interest in ensuring that what consumers buy at the pump contains as much of their product and as little ethanol as possible. CEI has received more than $2 million from ExxonMobil alone in addition to the more than $600,000 it has received from the foundations run by the petroleum magnates, the Koch brothers. In fact, his argument that consumers will either purposefully or mistakenly use ethanol fuel that will damage their vehicles closely mirrors the argument against E15 given by the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association which argues that "misfueling may occur intentionally, due to price differential or a quality perception, or unintentionally, due to consumer confusion or inattention."
In keeping with Fox's method of reporting on environmental issues, Horner's potential conflict of interest posed by his ties to big oil were left unmentioned in the segment.