Author Topic: To much Ethanol warning  (Read 1016 times)

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Re: To much Ethanol warning
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2018, 12:02:54 pm »
Interesting read https://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/ethanol-environment-damage/

EPA Says Ethanol Damages The Environment Isn't It Time To Kill The Program?

Energy: Amid all the media hoo-ha over President Trump's latest tweets, tariffs and the Russia investigation, you might have missed a significant report the Environmental Protection Agency says ethanol made from corn and soybeans and added to our gasoline has become an environmental disaster. So why do we continue to make it?

The devastating report based on, yes, actual "science" shows that the forced addition of ethanol to the nation's gasoline is making our air dirtier.

The irony, of course, is that ethanol's entire rationale is that it would make our air cleaner.

Why do we keep doing this? The farm-based ethanol lobby not only wants current standards of up to 10% of our fuel made up of ethanol (the "E10" standard), but would like to see it rise to 15% (E15). And, unfortunately, President Trump seems open to the idea.

Is ethanol really that bad? Well, never mind that there's a significant amount of evidence that it's bad for your car, boat or motorcycle engine. That's bad enough.

But the damage isn't just from using the ethanol in our fuel; it's in the entire process involved in radically altering our agricultural sector from growing food to growing an energy supplement.

The increase in ethanol has been significant. In 2008, the U.S. produced roughly 10 billion gallons of ethanol; by 2016, that amount had grown to 16.6 billion barrels, a 67% rise.

One of the most unexpected developments of the ethanol experiment is the loss of millions of acres of natural habitat to grow corn and soybeans, not for the dinner table but for the gas-station pump.

Do we really want to use millions of acres of land for no reason other than to satisfy the farm lobby?

Equally bad is the use of agricultural nutrients and chemicals to grow the crops. Much of those fertilizers end up in runoff that ends up in our rivers and lakes, causing algae blooms and other negative effects. You pay to clean that up not those making billions from these crops.

Again, that's not a side-effect that politicians or the Environmental Protection Agency discussed when they first foisted the ethanol-content rules on us.

But by far the worst is the unexpected finding that making ethanol and using it produces nitrous oxides in the atmosphere. Once there, nitrous oxides plus oxygen plus sunlight becomes ozone a major pollutant.

As it turns out, this is not "green energy" at all, as its proponents say. It's "brown energy." The only green is the money that lines the farm lobbyists' pockets.

As American Enterprise Institute fellow and economist Mark J. Perry noted in IBD all the way back in 2015, "countless independent studies have shown that corn ethanol is far worse from a greenhouse-gas emissions perspective than traditional fuels."

Private researchers and economists have known this for a long time. What's new is that the EPA is recognizing it for the first time.

What's truly disturbing is that this EPA report was delayed by four years, thanks to political maneuvering during the Obama era. By law, the EPA is supposed to produce a report every three years on biofuels. It didn't.

It's not hard to see why. Ethanol is politically popular. For that reason, it's a tough program to kill.

But there are clear and convincing reasons for doing just that.

As a Yale report last year summarized: "Higher-ethanol blends will produce significant levels of air pollution, reduce fuel efficiency, jack up corn and other food prices, and have been treated with skepticism by some car manufacturers for the damage they do to engines. Growing corn to run our cars was a bad idea 10 years ago. Increasing our reliance on corn ethanol in the coming decades is doubling down on a poor bet."

By the way, one of the main rationales for ethanol often used to convince free-market conservatives was that we needed it for "energy security."

Proponents said it was better to produce energy on U.S. soil than to buy it from questionable Middle East suppliers.

That argument is now largely moot. With the fracking revolution and the continued gains in car fuel-efficiency, that argument no longer holds water. Thanks to amazing new technologies, we're basically self-sufficient in energy today.
The Politics Of Ethanol

Even so, many cornbelt politicians, including a significant number of Republicans, support the so-called E-10 standard, part of the U.S.' Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

First put in place in 2005 then expanded in 2007, it's now apparent RFS has become an environmentally damaging and costly white elephant, serving as a lightly disguised subsidy program for corn and soybean farmers.

Yet, as we mentioned above, President Trump is considering not only keeping the program, but mandating a 15% standard E15. A costly waste.

This might get Midwestern votes, but it's bad policy. President Trump has done a bang-up job draining the Washington swamp. He should now turn his attention to draining the ethanol swamp, too.
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