The Great Ethanol "Debate" Heats Up
Even (or especially) as the Prez prepares to sign a bill increasing ethanol production to biblical proportions, The New York Times follows the Economist's lead and raises the alarm over ethanol production's impact on food prices. On the uh-oh side, Scott Faber, lobbyist for the Grocery Manufacturers Association, says E85 has the same “magical effect” on politicians as the tooth fairy and Santa Claus has on children. To which the vice president of government affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association adds "We think there will be a day when people ask, ‘Why in the world did we do this?’” In the interests of balance, the Times points out that "experts with no stake in the argument" say ethanol is only one cause amongst many for rising food prices– and then fails to provide a single such expert. Ethanol baron Mark Leonard says nothing of E85's effect on food, only that “This is a national security issue more than anything else. We need to quit sending money to people who want to blow us up.” And [unnamed] researchers for the Renewable Fuels Association "contend that the link between corn prices and grocery prices is weak." I'm going with the guy from the National Grain and Feed Association. David Fairfield attribues "virtually all" of the increase in the price of corn– up 25 to 30 percent so far this year– to the demands of the ethanol industry. Put that in your corn cob pipe and smoke it.