The ethanol ruse: Will a damning report be the final nail in its coffin?
By The Tribune-Review
Published: 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.
Show commenting policy
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 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.
- Keystone caper: Pipeline politics
- Saturday essay: Resurrection
- Easter 2014: Churches’ vital role
- All taken seriously
- Liquor privatization: Now’s the time
- Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances
- Alle-Kiski Tuesday Takes
- Another IPCC warning: More sci-fi
- Greensburg Laurels & Lances