More Praise for Corn-Based Ethanol!

According to ethanol boosters, this is the beginning of a much larger revolution that could entirely replace our 21-million-barrel-a-day oil addiction. Midwest farmers will get rich, the air will be cleaner, the planet will be cooler, and, best of all, we can tell those greedy sheiks to fuck off. As the king of ethanol hype, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, put it recently, “Everything about ethanol is good, good, good.”

This is not just hype — it’s dangerous, delusional bullshit.

A small excerpt from a recent article in Rolling Stone about the USA’s dangerous romance with food-based fuels. It’s a pretty good read, and since it’s being published in Rolling Stone instead of, say, the New York Times or the Economist, the authors can get away with pulling fewer punches and using more descriptive language than the establishment rags can.

As the price of oil and gasoline continues it’s wobbly rise, corn ethanol will continue to get way more publicity than it deserves.     As the RS article points out, ethanol made from sugar cane (like it’s done in Brazil) is a more efficient way of making the stuff, but we’ll never see that here in the states thanks to the fifty-four cents-per-gallon tariff on all imported ethanol.     It makes much more sense to drive food prices sky-high, line the pockets of large agribusinesses, create yet another real estate bubble for farmland, and protect a crappy end-product.

Oh, and to make matters worse, the drought that’s been crippling a lot of the farmland in the Midwest is now threatening to ruin much of the expected record corn crop that both ethanol and food producers are counting on.



6 Responses to More Praise for Corn-Based Ethanol!

  1. Dan says:

    Grassley is an idiot and I’m embarassed he represents my state. He’s just trying to steer some congressional pork his way, plain and simple. I’ve attended a few town hall meetings held by various groups regarding ethanol, and everyone dodges the questions regarding the large amount water required to process the ethanol and where it will come from and more importantly where it will go once the processing is complete. The vast Ogallala aquifer is getting depleted, yet we continue to plant miles and miles of monocultural crops that require massive amounts of water (not to mention pesticides and fertilizer) to grow and water our feed animals like there is no tomorrow. I think peak fresh water will rear its ugly head before we ruin the remaining top soil planting all this corn.

  2. Bart says:

    Don’t feel bad, Dan… every state has their share of jackass politicians. 🙂

    Your point about freshwater depletion is well taken. I doubt any of the ethanol pimps even consider this.

  3. Matt says:

    Nobody cares how water resources are used. They are “free”. I’m more concerned about water scarcity than Peak Oil. I can live without oil, not water.

    It’s so ridiculous.

  4. Bart says:

    I wonder how long it will be before communities start approving rainwater cisterns for houses and whatnot… when the Ogalalla aquifer goes south it’s going to get ugly for millions of people in the heartland.

  5. Rebecca says:

    Don’t feel bad Dan; both of the senators and at least one of the reps (mine of course) from Alabama are Jackasses!

  6. Dan says:

    If you could only see Grassley’s campaign commercials in other states. One of them featured him on a riding mower with 2 push attached on the sides with ropes and that is supposedely how he mows his yard in the country. I will give him credit however, he does pretty much stick to his campaign promises, even if I don’t agree with most of them.

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