Ethanol fuel should just be killed dead
This article is a really good look at where this issue is currently at.
If you’ve pumped gas at a U.S. service station over the past decade, you’ve put biofuel in your tank. Thanks to the federal Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS, almost all gasoline sold nationwide is required to contain 10% ethanol – a fuel made from plant sources, mainly corn.
With the recent rise in pump prices, biofuel lobbies are pressing to boost that target to 15% or more. At the same time, some policymakers are calling for reforms. For example, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators has introduced a bill that would eliminate the corn ethanol portion of the mandate.
Enacted in the wake of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the RFS promised to enhance energy security, cut carbon dioxide emissions and boost income for rural America. The program has certainly raised profits for portions of the agricultural industry, but in my view it has failed to fulfill its other promises. Indeed, studies by some scientists, including me, find that biofuel use has increased rather than decreased CO2 emissions to date.
The article also notes the other, large-scale environmental damage that is happening because of the vast amounts of corn being grown, that is, in the modern fashion, drenched with fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides.
My only quibble is the suggestion that farmers are being helped. It’s true that overall farm income has risen since the biofuels mandate, though with big peaks and valleys. But that has not translated overall to better deals for most farmers. (If you click on that last hyperlink, especially note the sections headed “Even Before COVID-19, Farm Families Had Negative Farm Income,” “Rising Stress in Rural America,” and, in particular, “Reining In Corporate Control.”)
I rank Big Ag with Big Pharma and Big Weapons as the most loathsome and despicable corporate “Bigs” of all. I know that’s a strong statement. What about Big Fossil Fuels, Big Finance, and so many others? Fact is, years of following and pondering these issues have led me to listing those three, as the most utterly greed-driven and ethically bereft. And none of the Bigs are going to fix themselves.
Comment from Mac: Did you read about the concerns expressed over the proposed Summit Carbon Solutions and Navigator CO2 Ventures projects designed to help the ethanol industry ?
Summit Carbon Solutions has proposed a $4.5 billion investment in the Midwest Carbon Express project to develop a carbon capture and storage project in Minnesota as well as four other Midwest states … creating between 14,000 and 17,000 jobs in the total 5 state region.
Tina Smith has authored S.986 – Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage Tax Credit Amendments Act of 2021 providing tax credits for the next dozen years … These credits would increase from the current $50 to $120 per metric ton for CO2 captured and stored.
I think that Biden’s Build Back Better plan has provisions to increase the credit for carbon oxide sequestration from $50 to $60 while the Summit is hoping for $85 per ton.
The Sierra Club, Bold Nebraska, which fought against the Keystone XL oil pipeline, and other groups outright oppose the pipeline or have raised questions…
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