Friday, March 06, 2009

Ethanol update:corn crowd seeks EPA bailout -- while denouncing California

We’ve been warning in recent days that Duke Energy’s Jim Rogers is pressing for a government bailout in response to the global warming challenge – and we’ll have more to say on that soon…

But this morning there’s another industry seeking corporate welfare – the ethanol lobby.

Yes, times are tough in the world of corn. And so the corn crowd’s response is try to change the rules – to press the US EPA to permit higher concentrations of ethanol in regular gasoline, regardless of the consequences to the environment. (And, by the way, what a pity that Wesley Clark had to sully his reputation by signing up with this crowd. )

This is a likely prescription for more pollution – and more engine damage.

You may recall we have been warning of this gambit for some time. Just a month ago, an extraordinary coalition (including the American Lung Association, the Clean Air Task Force, the oil industry, the car industry and many others) urged Congress to reject efforts by the ethanol lobby to seek this bailout in the stimulus bill. That congressional ethanol gambit failed, but now the cornsters are going directly to the EPA – seeking a waiver to permit more ethanol in gasoline.

We hope this decision is based on science rather than political pressure. Earlier studies have shown potential damage to catalytic converters with higher levels of ethanol. That means more dirty air.

Meanwhile, given that the corn crowd is always pledging its fealty to efforts to deal with global warming, we have to point out, with a chuckle, that the very same ethanol lobby is denouncing efforts by the state of California to adopt standards that would lower the average carbon content of fuel. (See excellent story in the LA Times at,0,1654710.story ) Would you be surprised to note that corn-based ethanol actually has a higher carbon intensity because of land use changes? Our friends with the Clean Air Task Force have worked to point this out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Louisiana will create jobs by growing ethanol demand, specifically hydrous ethanol demand, beyond the 10% blend market.

Governor Bobby Jindal has signed into law the Advanced Biofuel Industry Development Initiative, Act 382, the most comprehensive and far-reaching state legislation in the nation enacted to develop a statewide advanced biofuel industry. The legislature found that the proper development of an advanced biofuel industry in Louisiana requires implementation of the comprehensive “field-to-pump” strategy:

(1) Feedstock other than corn;
(2) Decentralized network of small advanced biofuel manufacturing facilities;
(3) Variable blending pumps, in lieu of splash blending, will offer the consumer E10, E20, E30 and E85; and
(4) Hydrous ethanol.

"Field-to-Pump" is a unique strategy created by Renergie, Inc. (“Renergie”) to locally produce and market advanced biofuel (“non-corn fuel ethanol”) via a network of small advanced biofuel manufacturing facilities. The purpose of “field-to-pump” is to maximize rural development and job creation while minimizing feedstock supply risk and the burden on local water supplies.