E85 Boondoggle of the Day: E85 Exempt From EPA CO2 Ruling. Still.

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
e85 boondoggle of the day e85 exempt from epa co2 ruling still

“Congress already made sure corn ethanol was protected from any scientific assessment of its impact on the environment when it passed the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act. Buried in the law are provisions that exempt every gallon of corn ethanol from the requirement to reduce greenhouse gases that all other biofuels have to meet to qualify as a ‘renewable fuel.'” So reporteth Minnesota’s Startribune.com, while ripping hometown pol House Agriculture Committee Chairman, Collin Peterson, a new you-know-what. The paper’s plenty pissed at Petersen’s threat to torpedo Obama’s climate change legislation—unless the EPA gives ethanol a “get out of jail free” card for its tendency to increase global warming. Careful readers will now note the quote that initiated this blog and notice that Petersen’s asking for a free pass that the industry already enjoys. Never mind. Hell hath no fury like a legislator protecting his sponsors.

What has Peterson and the corn-ethanol lobby so upset is that the EPA took into consideration “indirect land use change” — technical jargon for factoring in the climate-damaging gases that will be released when forests or grasslands are plowed under and planted with crops to make up for the corn used to make ethanol. When EPA scientists factor in indirect land use change, as they are required to do by law, it turns out corn ethanol likely increases rather than decreases greenhouse-gas emissions.

Is there no end to this self-righteous perfidy? In a word, no.

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4 of 11 comments
  • Shaker Shaker on May 21, 2009

    We vote 'em in, but from then on, they're battered, cajoled and bribed by (sometimes competing) corporate interests and lobbyists. We vote 'em in, but lose them on their first day in office.

  • Ron Ron on May 21, 2009
    Carbon dioxide emissions from ethanol consumption are considered to be zero because the carbon in the fuel is derived primarily from corn, and it is assumed that an equivalent amount of carbon will be sequestered during the corn growing season. http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/archive/gg04rpt/carbon.html
  • MisterB MisterB on May 21, 2009

    A geographical correction: Peterson is NOT a hometown congressman. The twin cities metro area including Minneapolis is an urban area in the southeast part of the state. It has about 60% to 2/3rds of Minnesota's population (depending on how the ex-suburban areas are defined). Peterson's district is one of the most rural districts in the entire nation and it is the northwest part of the state along the North Dakota border all the way to the Canadian border. Most of this district is a 3 to 5 hour drive from Minneapolis. I point this out because there is clearly a divide between a liberal urban newspaper and a rural congressman. Ethanol is a boondoogle BUT in the rural parts of Minnesota it has become an extremely important part of the economy. Twin Cities, Minnesota

  • Gary Numan Gary Numan on May 21, 2009

    A boondoggle is still a boondoggle. Welfare is still welfare and there is no such thing as a free lunch unless you are a member of the UAW who gets paid 95% of pay to not work or a farmer who receives taxpayers monies to raise crops or not. Meanwhile, countries like China who understand basic economic concepts such as one has to produce and produce profitably in order to consume continue to rake in the bucks and live the "Golden Rule" of he or she who has the gold makes the rules.