Friday, November 30, 2007

Ethanol Production Still a Large Debate

From the Wall Street Journal that discusses the large variation in opinions of ethanol production. Well worth the read:

A recent study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development concluded that biofuels "offer a cure [for oil dependence] that is worse than the disease." A National Academy of Sciences study said corn-based ethanol could strain water supplies. The American Lung Association expressed concern about a form of air pollution from burning ethanol in gasoline. Political cartoonists have taken to skewering the fuel for raising the price of food to the world's poor...

Against all the criticism and lobbying, "we're David in this fight," says Bob Dinneen, the ethanol industry's top lobbyist. Mr. Dinneen says the industry has been made a scapegoat for food price increases that are due to many factors, including higher oil prices and growing overseas demand for grain. He also faults the lack of a mature U.S. distribution network that would make it easier for consumers to get ethanol. His group, called the Renewable Fuels Association, and the National Corn Growers Association have formed a coalition to "unify the voices" in the ethanol community, he says...

In the past, livestock farmers supported ethanol because it was good for the overall farm economy. But now they began to complain that the higher corn price cut sharply into their profits. A meat-producer trade group called the American Meat Institute took a stand against federal support for biofuels last December, joined soon after by the National Turkey Federation and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association...

The farm fissure widened when livestock, meat and poultry groups started coordinating their lobbying with the oil industry, in discussions helped along by former Texas Congressman Charles Stenholm, who now lobbies for both
industries.

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