Wash. Post spreads more horse hockey about ethanol, but RFA won’t let ’em get away with it.

(The op-ed piece from the Washington Post, “It’s time to end the excessive subsidies for corn ethanol”)

 WHEN WASHINGTON starts handing out cash, it can be hard to stop. See, for example, the decades of subsidies the government has showered on the corn ethanol industry. The fuel was supposed to free America from its dependence on foreign oil and produce fewer carbon emissions in the process. It’s doing some of the former and little of the latter. But corn ethanol certainly doesn’t need the level of taxpayer support it’s been getting. Lawmakers are considering whether to renew these expensive subsidies; they shouldn’t. The July 24 editorial “Cornucopia” failed to provide readers with needed context about biofuels, misled them about the nature of U.S. ethanol production and offered no alternative for reducing America’s addiction to oil….

Our Take:
We’d like to give Mr. Dineen a personal high-five, fist-bump combination, and encourage every other passionate supporter of ethanol to make sure they don’t let erroneous information about ethanol go unanswered. Here’s what RFA President Bob Dineen wrote in response, published as a letter to the editor on July 29:

 First, calling for an end to tax credits for ethanol while ignoring the billions of dollars of tax subsidies for Big Oil is as inequitable as it is shortsighted. Lawmakers want more renewable energy technologies, but they require these industries to come hat in hand to Congress for investment. The oil industry, by comparison, lobbies only when the permanent subsidies it enjoys are threatened.

 Second, American ethanol is a success story. Only lamenting the value of the tax credit for ethanol without discussing the economic benefits of ethanol production is misleading. Federal tax revenue generated by the production and use of ethanol totaled more than $8 billion in 2009, $3 billion more than the value of the tax credit. Jobs and economic opportunity in hundreds of rural communities further add to the value of the investment.

 Third, the editorial suggested that there are better technologies available without providing any evidence. There is no gasoline-alternative technology that can match ethanol’s availability, production volume or oil displacement benefit. Moreover, continued investment in ethanol is required to ensure that promising next-generation biofuel technologies, such as cellulosic ethanol, are commercialized. Ending investment in ethanol will result in more oil consumption and severely curtail investments in new renewable fuel technologies.

 Bob Dinneen, Washington


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