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FOOD MAKERS FINALLY JOIN FIGHT AGAINST ETHANOL

 

November 12, 2010
Nuclear Townhall
From the Editors

 
When ethanol subsidies and mandates were first adopted in 1979, one of the arguments was that, in addition to reducing our foreign fuel dependency, it would “benefit farmers.”  And indeed, how could farmers not benefit from the artificial demand for their crops?
 


Today nearly 30 percent of America’s corn crop goes into U.S. gas tanks. The program has done nothing to reduce our oil imports.  That 30 percent of the corn crop barely replaced 3 percent of domestic oil consumption. Numerous studies have shown that ethanol provides only marginal energy gains and may actually lose energy. 


Failing that, proponents began arguing that corn ethanol would reduce global warming. Burning last year’s corn crop was “carbon neutral,” whereas burning fossil oil added to the atmosphere’s carbon burden. That argument has been questioned as well, since ethanol provides less energy than gasoline and biofuels can take 90 years before they become carbon neutral. The only thing going for it is that it is “natural.”
 


Still, ethanol has succeeded in doing one thing – rewarding farmers. The whole Midwest is now so dependent on ethanol subsidies and mandates that no Presidential candidate can make it through the Iowa caucuses without pledging his allegiance to ethanol.   



What no one ever noticed is that diverting huge portions of the nation’s food supplies into gas tanks might have an impact on someone else – people who eat, for example. Now, after extended silence, representatives of those other parties are finally speaking up. This week the Grocery Manufacturers Assn., the National Meat Assn., the National Chicken Council and several others filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent ruling that raised the permissible level of ethanol mixed in gasoline from 10 to 15 percent. “[This ruling] will put pressure on the meat and poultry supply, which will lead to higher food prices for consumers," said J. Patrick Boyle, president of the American Meat Institute in a statement issues yesterday.


In fact, the biofuels effort has been doing this for a long time. In 2007 there were “tortilla riots” in Mexico and disturbances throughout Africa and Asia as a result of biofuels’ pressure on food prices. The United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization has been calling biofuels a “crime against humanity” ever since, although nobody pays much attention. Even many environmental activist groups have turned against biofuels, as they usually do when the true impact of their ideas about “renewable energy” finally become apparent.


The food producers’ lawsuit may finally bring home to the public what has been obvious all along. There is no such thing as a free lunch, nor a free fill-up at the gas station. While farmers may be profiting from the ethanol boondoggle, everyone else is paying the price.


Read more about it at the Los Angeles Times

 
 

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