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Biofuels, exposed (again)

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
 

In another backfire for the biofuel industry, research paid for by the federal government shows fuel made from the remnants of harvested corn leads to worse pollution than gasoline.

Left gagging in this cloud of fumes are taxpayers, who have pumped at least $1 billion into so-called cellulosic biofuels, and the Obama administration, which said fuels made from corn residue are a cleaner oil alternative that helps combat climate change.

Not according to the study published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change: Fuel concocted from corn residue released 7 percent more greenhouse gases than conventional gasoline. As one researcher told The Associated Press, “I'm amazed it has not come out more solidly until now.”

The findings are bad news for cellulosic biofuels, which have struggled to meet volume targets. Of course, the public-subsidy-burning biofuel industry insists that the research is flawed.

What's flawed is the “logic” that for decades has propped up the entire ethanol industry with billions of public dollars, and federal mandates, when the production of ethanol consumes more energy than it produces.

And if that's not bad enough, an AP investigation last year found that the Environmental Protection Agency's own analysis of corn-based ethanol failed to accurately predict its environmental consequences.

Again, the case is made clear to cut the federal lifeline to corny fuels.

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