As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Breaking Up Big Corn

The Administration's new biofueld strategy was better than it looked at first glance, especially if it means the death of ethanol subsidies.

The Obama administration on Tuesday proposed renewable-fuel standards that could reduce the $3 billion a year in federal tax breaks given to producers of corn-based ethanol. The move sets the stage for a major battle between Midwest grain producers and environmentalists who say the gasoline additive actually worsens global warming.

For much of the last decade, federal officials have touted the potential of corn ethanol as a substitute for gasoline and a tool for reducing global warming and foreign oil dependence.

However, environmentalists and others have questioned the wisdom of that support.

A recent Congressional Budget Office study found that increased ethanol production was responsible for 10% to 15% of last year's increased U.S. food costs. And the rush to produce more corn for fuel has had a global environmental impact as forests and other vegetation have been cleared to make way for cropland.

I believe in alternative fuels as part of the solution, but not when it competes with that other type of fuel, the food that fuels our bodies. Not only does corn-based ethanol expend more in energy for its production than it saves, but it artificially raises food prices globally and impedes efforts to reduce world hunger. If the President is serious about following the science, he will allow the EPA tests on emissions of biofuels to show that corn and soy-based biodiesel do not meet the test. Already the Energy Department has used stimulus money to boost the cellulosic ethanol industry.

Speaking of following the science, watch Mike Pence stumble his way through an interview where he denies global warming, questions stem cell research and equivocates on evolution, and then claim not to be "anti-science." Fun stuff.

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