Politics

Sen. Coal Says Corn-based Ethanol Overrated

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The AP reports on a summer meeting of governors (think League of Villains) at which our duly elected officials catch up with the bandwagon that corn-based ethanol is a bad idea whose time has come—and hopefully is going, going, gone.

Here's a snapshot of reactions to the recognition that critics such as reason science correspondent Ronald Bailey have been right all along in noting that corn-based ethanol mandates distort markets, deliver questionable environmental benefits, and jack the price of food:

"I truly do not believe that a food-based product should be used for energy," said Gov. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, where almost all energy needs are met by coal. "It should be used for human consumption."

Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina called the EPA requirement "a totally bogus government mandate" at Sunday's energy forum.

The current buzz is cellulosic ethanol, or ethanol made from plant matter. Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm pitched the idea Sunday of using more wood products because of the large number of forests in her state.

Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania says his state "could be to cellulosic ethanol what Iowa was to corn-based ethanol." A new state law will require a minimum of a billion gallons of fuel annually pumped in Pennsylvania come from renewable fuels.

More here. And before you get all excited about cellulosic ethanol, read this.

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  1. “Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm pitched the idea Sunday of using more wood products because of the large number of forests in her state.”

    (Re)legalize Industrial Hemp – save a tree (or a corn).

  2. We have plenty of coal and should be using more of it.

    We can also make synthetic gasoline out of coal. The Germans were doing that back in WW2

  3. If the government interfered in the computer market as much as they do energy,Bill Gates would still be working in his garage.

  4. Gilbert, what are you, a nazi?

  5. If only there were some way to capture and utilize the methane present in politicians’ bullshit, we would be living in cloud cities, and driving flying cars.

  6. Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm pitched the idea Sunday of using more wood products because of the large number of forests in her state.

    Wow, just try to imagine how the enviros will howl when we’re clearcutting forests to make cellulosic ethanol.

  7. Yes, I actually know that most cellulosic ethanol plans call for the use of waste from conventional timber cutting operations that now ends up, in some cases, being a disposal problem, but I couldn’t resist the hyperbole.

  8. Since all edible life is carbon-based and coal is as carbony as it gets, why can’t we turn the tables on the ethanol cartel and start eating those tasty and plentiful black burgers?

  9. There was certainly a market distortion in ethanol subsidies when gas was under $2/gal. Now ethanol makes perfect economic sense and while the subsidy should be eliminated it’s pretty funny to hear naysayers now crying “But it makes food more expensive!”

    Hey, guess what — hydrocarbons are energy, period, whether you eat them to fuel your body’s energy needs or put them in your car so you can get to work. If some kinds of hydrocarbons can be converted into others that are more valuable, guess what’s going to happen in a free market.

    Cellulosic ethanol from waste is a huge no-brainer because the input has negative value. But the real money will probably be in switchgrass, which is very easy to grow relative to corn — and we have huge plains to grow it on. The Midwest can be to ethanol what the Mideast is to oil.

  10. Ethanol is a fraud, I don’t care what you make it from.

    Clean coal, much like “Fat free lard”, is an oxymoron and nothing but a marketing snow job done by the coal companies.

  11. This is why people who don’t believe in supply and demand worry me more than people who don’t believe in evolution.

  12. jtuf,

    I didn’t realize that supply and demand was a belief system.

    Your faith will set your markets free.
    Can I get an Amen!

  13. “Gilbert, what are you, a nazi?”

    Yeah – just like NASA which built it’s rockets based on German technology and using German scientists to help them do it.

  14. “Now ethanol makes perfect economic sense and while the subsidy should be eliminated it’s pretty funny to hear naysayers now crying “But it makes food more expensive!”

    The government not only has ethanol subsidies, it has MANDATES for using ethanol that ramp up over time.

  15. Nothing wrong with corn-based ethanol – provided its aged in oak barrels and sold by the fifth.

  16. Ethanol made using HEMP is 10 times more efficient than corn, grows in marginalized soil and does not require fertilizers or pesticides.

    The problem is it interferes with the profits of big oil and they own the world.

    It’s why “marijuana” has been demonized and prohibited.

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