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The ethanol ruse: Will a damning report be the final nail in its coffin?

| Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

We've long editorialized how the federally mandated blending of corn-based ethanol into gasoline is economic, fuel-efficiency and energy-independence nonsense. Now, an Associated Press investigation finds it's an anything-but-”green” impetus for environmental disaster, leaving this policy without a leg to stand on.

These mandates — which candidate Barack Obama advocated and are key to his anti-global-warming plan as president — divert more than 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop to ethanol production, raising food and livestock-feed prices. That has given farmers incentives to plant even more corn — which is what has happened, since Mr. Obama took office, on 5 million acres supposedly set aside for conservation, the AP finds.

Plowing those fields — more land than Yellowstone, Everglades and Yosemite national parks combined — has released greenhouse gases. Growing corn there with billions of pounds of fertilizer has contaminated drinking water and worsened the Gulf of Mexico's “dead zone.” Yet the Obama administration still panders to farm interests by supporting ethanol mandates.

Ethanol-industry voices dismiss the AP report as “propaganda” colored by “Big Oil's deep pockets and powerful influence.” That's what special interests do when they have no merit-based case to make.

The administration is widely expected to ease the ethanol/gasoline blending mandate. But with such mandates proving to be both economic and environmental folly, this AP report ought to be the final nail in their coffin.

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