Regulatory Watchdogs

Center for Regulatory Effectiveness

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Center for Auto Safety
Center for Science in the Public Interest
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Ethanol For People, Not Cars
Environmental Defense has issued a report warning that increased corn-based ethanol production poses a threat to a large aquifer under eight Great Plains states. Specific concerns raised by ED include “increased use of water in places where supplies are already dwindling” and “the loss of important grasslands to crop production.”

Although the NGO provides some fuzzy recommendations for improving environmental protection, they do not address the fundamental question of whether federal subsidies to convert food into fuel makes sense. Instead of substantive analysis, ED favors unsupported platitudes about “renewable fuels” being able to provide “one of our best opportunities to address global warming.”

Meanwhile, USDA estimates that about a quarter of the country’s corn crop will be used for ethanol production next year. Ethanol production is pushing up grain prices throughout North America resulting in increased in food prices. While it’s not surprising that Washington considers alcohol to be an important fuel, if there were serious interest in achieving environmental gains from ethanol without harming consumers, the first step would be to end the tariff on sugar cane-based Brazilian ethanol.

Environmental advocates should either support free trade in ethanol or leave it for drinking instead of driving.

See ED report, “Potential Impacts of Biofuels Expansion on Natural Resources”

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