Now, Environmentalists Oppose Corn Ethanol

In a dramatic reversal, environmentalists now oppose ethanol produced from corn.

Groups such as Friends of the Earth, The Environmental Working Group and the National Wildlife Federation now say that producing ethanol from corn generates more greenhouse gasses than does gasoline, and that it harms the environment.

These same groups are now urging Congress to modify or do away with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requiring that ethanol be used in gasoline.

The EPA and this Administration have been urging just the opposite, by endorsing a higher percentage of ethanol for use in gasoline. Currently, ethanol content is limited to 10% because most manufacturers say ethanol in higher amounts will damage automobile engines, unless the vehicle has been specially built for larger amounts of ethanol.

In 2004, The Natural Resources Defense Council used a 96-page report proclaiming boundless biofuel benefits, such as slashed greenhouse gas emissions, improved air quality and more wildlife habitat.

Of course, it’s now clear this was merely typical misinformation from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Eight states are the largest producers of corn, and these are the states that will be affected by changes to the RFS. Representatives Peter Welch (D) of Vermont, and Bob Goodlatte (R) of Virginia, are cosponsoring such changes.

  • Iowa
  • Illinois
  • Nebraska
  • Minnesota
  • Indiana
  • South Dakota
  • Kansas
  • Ohio

“Collin O’Mara, president of the National Wildlife Federation, told a House committee last month that the RFS program has wreaked severe, unintended consequences, including the loss of prairie land and water-supply damage that threatens wildlife.”

If these environmental groups have been wrong on this issue, why should they be believed about other issues, when there is substantial evidence they are wrong?

PV rooftop solar is a good example of programs promoted by environmental groups, and the Democrat Platform, that actually hurt Americans with higher costs for electricity and more tax payer money used for subsidies.

Only one state, Hawaii, might possibly be able to use PV Rooftop solar economically. Without subsidies, PV Rooftop solar is uneconomic in every other state, with payback periods ranging from 8 to over 20 years.

There are, of course, some proponents of ethanol who want to cling to the use of corn based ethanol, including the Renewable Fuels Association, an organization with an obvious self interest in perpetuating the program.

Corn-based ethanol has been a drain on American pocketbooks, without environmental benefits.

Chart showing required amounts of ethanol by type, by year. Yellow: Corn based, Blue: Cellulosic, Green: Other advanced, Red: biodiesel
Chart showing required amounts of ethanol by type, by year.
Yellow: Corn based, Blue: Cellulosic, Green: Other advanced, Red: biodiesel

Beyond corn, cellulosic ethanol has been a failure, in that volumes have been far below what had been promised, with subsidies harming ordinary tax payers.

The accompanying chart shows how much cellulosic ethanol is required by the existing RFS, where it is now obvious that it is impossible to produce the required amounts of cellulosic ethanol.

The RFS program is intellectually bankrupt. See, False Promise of Biofuels.

Ethanol was promoted to cut CO2 emissions, and cutting CO2 emissions is at the heart of the Democrat platform. See, Energy Platform Comparisons.

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From Chapter 10 of Nothing to Fear:

“The possibility of producing biofuels economically and in required quantities seems remote … if not absurd.”

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.

Link to Amazon:

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear
Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

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