Corn hole: Repeal RFS
With drought and other market conditions exposing Washington's wasteful ethanol favoritism like never before, the Environmental Protection Agency should waive this year's Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) — and Congress should repeal the RFS law.
The Department of Agriculture bought about 42 percent of the drought-reduced corn crop to meet this year's RFS requirement for blending ethanol into vehicle fuels. Livestock producers, their feed costs spiking due to corn's scarcity, favor the RFS waiver that the EPA is considering. Yet Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, former governor of ethanol epicenter Iowa, supports the status quo.
Corn ethanol's a losing energy proposition, taking more to produce than it yields as fuel. There would be no U.S. ethanol market without the RFS mandate and stiff tariffs on cheaper foreign alternatives, which raise Americans' food costs by diverting U.S. corn to ethanol production.
With the EPA allowing blended fuel to contain 15 percent ethanol, up from 10 percent, damaged engines, voided warranties and lower fuel efficiency add to the pain of taxpaying motorists, boaters and power-tool users. And meanwhile, development of more economically sensible biofuel sources, such as switchgrass, languishes.
Today's supply-and-demand situation exacerbates the glaring downsides of corn ethanol and government market intervention on its behalf. The EPA should never again mull an RFS waiver; rather, Congress must end this market-distorting political sop to corn producers.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.