The Environmental Working Group has just issued a report that finds that 75 percent of all renewable fuels tax subsidies in 2007 went to environmentally damaging corn-ethanol production. In addition, the corn ethanol industry, teetering on the edge of collapse despite billions already wasted in subsidies on it, now wants additional billions for a bailout. According to EWG:
A little noticed analysis buried in an April 2008 report from the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA)1 shows that the corn-based ethanol industry received $3 billion in tax credits in 2007, more than four times the $690 million in credits available to companies trying to expand all other forms of renewable energy, including solar, wind and geothermal power.
In the EWG press release, report author and EWG Midwest Vice President Craig Cox says:
"With America facing an exploding federal deficit and the crisis of climate change, it defies common sense to continue to lavish billions of tax dollars on corn-based ethanol, a fuel that has failed to fulfill its promises at every turn."
"Corn-based ethanol production, spurred by federal subsidies and mandates, is polluting our nation's water, eroding our soil and plowing up precious wildlife habitat—and worst of all is likely contributing to global warming," Cox said. "As the polluting ethanol industry gets fat at taxpayer expense, proven clean technologies such as solar, wind and geothermal are fighting for support. America needs a truly renewable energy portfolio, and the evidence is mounting that corn-based ethanol will not get us where we need to go."
Of course, Reason.com has been inveighing against ethanol subsidies for years. But right on EWG! Hmmm. I wonder how EWG knows that the renewable energy sources its wants to subsidize won't have similar unintended consequences. Oh, never mind.