Federal Ethanol Regs Could Kill Industry

federal ethanol regs could kill industry

Not that they will, but they could. In fact, they should. Check it: today's The New York Times op ed reminds us that "The final [energy] bill correctly included environmental safeguards. The most important is a requirement that ethanol, regardless of its source, achieve at least a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gases compared with conventional gasoline." Only the Times (and TTAC) noticed two studies in Science magazine that conclude that ethanol production increases global warming. So.. that's it then. Until ethanol can be made from non-corn sources, the Environmental Protection Agency (charged with calculating ethanol emissions) should pull the plug on corn juice and sink the subsidy-sucking ethanol industry. The chances of that happening are between none and none. Still, it's nice to see the Times (almost) acknowledge a green boondoggle when they see one.

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  • Quasimondo Quasimondo on Feb 25, 2008
    As I have said here before… prairie grass produces more than 500% more ethanol per acre than corn. What are we messing with a food source for when another and better supply medium is rightly at hand? http://www.greenlivingonline.com/Energy/cp-4873/ "The study said that after taking into account expected worldwide land-use changes, corn-based ethanol, instead of reducing greenhouse gases by 20 per cent, will increases it by 93 per cent compared to using gasoline over a 30-year period. Biofuels from switchgrass, if they replace croplands and other carbon-absorbing lands, would result in 50 per cent more greenhouse gas emissions, the researchers concluded."

  • Olddavid Olddavid on Feb 25, 2008

    I don't care if it's switchgrass, sugar cane or corn this is a giant boondoggle for people to fool themselves into believing they are doing something for the environment. I say this as a member of a farming family (Uncles, Aunts, cousins). The sales of the Prius show us how the appearance of doing good is more important than actually doing good. Plus, I have yet to hear of any plan to take all those used batteries from hybrids and reduce the toxic component parts to recyclables. This whole thing stinks of short term stupidity- something you can rarely accuse Toyota of being. If you really want to help the planet, just take one day a week and don't drive. It is doable, people, even for an old hard head like me.

  • N Number N Number on Feb 25, 2008

    I just watched "Bound For Glory" last week, the story of Woody Guthrie. Aside from his union stance, one thing I learned is that I don't want to experience dust-storms. I say no to corn or prairie grass E85 production.

  • Engineer Engineer on Feb 25, 2008

    The Energy Bill can be substantially improved by requiring that no subsidy goes to fuels produced from food (or any edible material). Further improvements should include: 1. Encourage producers to focus on using waste as a feedstock. 2. Step away from ethanol, which is no silver bullet. Leave the choice of fuel to the market. 3. Related to #2: Open subsidies to all fuels, but weigh it towards those that are misceble in existing fuels. That way you encourage the most viable options, as opposed to government trying to predict who the winner should be. 4. Involve Big Oil: these guys have the infrastructure, the cash and the technical know-how to quickly introduce renewable fuels. In spite of the popular sentiments these guys can help renewable fuels to grow the fastest. And with governments increasingly looking to kick foreign oil companies out of their oil fields, Big Oil must be looking for new feedstocks.