Corporate Welfare Archives

Obama administration enlarges ethanol industry trough

By Michael Fumento

I've been writing about the ethanol scam since before you were born - well, if you were born after 1987 at least. I need to stop, because the more I write the bigger and richer the industry gets and more the rest of us pay the price.

Yes, we've been hearing it for three decades now.

Now the Obama administration has allowed vastly more money to be poured down the gullet of this insatiable creature, with the EPA making an official finding that corn-based ethanol and biodiesel made using other stocks produce vastly less greenhouse gas emissions displacing conventional gasoline or diesel fuel.

That's news to some outside researchers, who find quite the opposite; that these fuels require far more energy (carbon-based energy) to produce than they create.

For example, Cornell agricultural ecologist David Pimental and colleagues in a paper last year concluded that no crop produced more fuel than the energy used to grow it and convert it to ethanol or biodiesel. They found a negative energy return of 46 percent for corn ethanol, 50 percent for switchgrass, 63 percent for soybean biodiesel and 58 percent for rapeseed. Even the most promising palm oil production results in a minus 8 percent net energy return.

I'll be writing more on this, but suffice now to say that the real "science" behind the EPA's findings is that this is an election year, with Pres. Obama's party looking to be in a hurt come November, and support from those farm states is absolutely necessary. Hard to argue against that, isn't it?

February 15, 2010 02:24 PM  ·  Permalink