Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Just Say No to Ethanol

Why? Here's the simple truth:

1) It's driving up the cost of a gallon of gas.

2) It reduces fuel economy.

3) While the use of ethanol may reduce CO emissions, burning ethanol also contributes to other emissions that contribute to smog...so it's actually trading one form of harmful emissions for another.

4) The cost of food is going up and that's having a seriously negative effect on the health of a nation that already suffers from the highest rate of child hunger in the industrialized world. That's right. Tens of millions of American citizens are going hungry every year and most of them are under the age of 18.

5) A significant increase in petroleum consumption is occurring due to the increase in farm machinery use (like tractors), the increased manufacturing of pesticides and fertilizers (to help "grow" the ethanol), and ethanol must be shipped by rail, tanker truck or barge due to the potential for contamination by moisture if it is pumped through pipelines.

6) We're further jeopardizing our nation's food security and mortgaging the future of our children to grow gasoline. It would take 212 billion bushels of corn to produce enough fuel to meet current annual US gasoline demand...the entire world only produced 2.1 billion bushels of grain last year. Where the hell is the rest of our food going to come from if all of our arable land is being used to produce plant material for bio fuel???

7) Your tax dollars are being used to subsidize the production of ethanol and subsequently contributing to the overflowing coffers of some the slimiest petrochemical agribusiness giants (like ADM) and at the same time providing them a mandate to continue the rape and ruin of our nation's farmlands, water supply, and natural environment.

My sincerest apologies to the great Willie Nelson for this rant on bio fuel. I know some of the farmers he's supported so proudly and for so long are finally seeing some of the red ink disappear from their books due to the increase in grain prices and the agricultural subsidies, but most folks aren't...and that includes a hell of a lot of folks who aren't benefiting from inappropriate, taxpayer funded subsidies. I also know that Willie has his own bio fuel company going strong back home in Texas. They're not producing ethanol. They're producing bio diesel. I don't much care for that either for many of the same reasons I'm against ethanol spiked gasoline. It's going to take a seriously enormous shift in the way we operate to recognize the benefits of bio diesel over fossil fuel and, being the individual that I am, I just don't see it happening in Willie's lifetime or mine. Anyways, just wanted make it clear that I'm not intentionally stepping on Willie's toes. He's always been my hero. And he still is, it seems.

Don't believe me? Well here are some links to folks that took the time to write about this very subject...complete with footnotes and all of the good stuff that fact checkers like to see:

The conservative folks from The Heritage Foundation published this article by Ben Lieberman, 'The Ethanol Mandate Should Not Be Expanded' .

The more progressive minded Grist published this nice piece from one of my favorite journalists, Tom Philpott, 'A revolt against ethanol?' .

Fuel Ethanol Subsidies: An Economic Perspective
, is a nice read brought to you by BIPAC. The Business Industry Political Action Committee...Board of Directors members include executive officers from Bollinger Shipyards, Weyerhauser, Lockheed-Martin, General Motors, Sun Microsystems, Goodyear, Exxon, JELD-WEN, Verizon...and the list goes on.

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