The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) plans to allow a controversial blend of gasoline and ethanol to be sold in the U.S. could be headed for rough legal sledding.Federal appeals court judges recently heard a challenge to the Obama EPA’s approval of E15, a blend of 85 percent gasoline and 15 percent ethanol, to be sold in cars from the model year 2001 and newer. EPA claims it has the power under the Clean Air Act (CAA) to grant waivers allowing the sale of the new blend in certain vehicles. Currently, ethanol is not allowed to comprise more than 10 percent of [...]
CHURCHVILLE, VA—U.S. Energy prices have risen to more than 6 percent of consumer spending—which may be a historic “tipping point.” Our food prices, meanwhile, have had their steepest increase in a generation, to about 6.5 percent of spending. That’s a double whammy consumers haven’t suffered since Jimmy Carter’s infamous “stagflation,” a painful mix of weak economic growth, high unemployment, and rising inflation in the late 1970’s.Both the high oil prices and the high food prices trace directly back to the Obama Administration. Oil has gotten no scarcer during the Obama years, but the dollar has weakened by about 17 percent. The [...]
CHURCHVILLE, VA—A new study from the University of Illinois estimates that the world has more than 702 million hectares of marginal land suitable for growing biofuels. The researchers assessed land around the world based on its soil quality, slope, and regional climate. They added degraded or low-quality cropland but ruled out any good cropland, pasture, or forests; they also assumed no irrigation. They came up with the surprising total 2.7 million sq. miles of marginal land that could be available for switchgrass or other biofuel crops. But the Illinois team didn’t, apparently, factor in a 2010 Stanford University study that found [...]
CHURCHVLLE, VA—Paul Krugman is a big deal: Princeton professor, New York Times columnist and Nobel laureate (2008). Krugman wrote last week about the “food crisis, the second one to hit the world in the last three years.” His key statement: “what really stands out is the extent to which severe weather events have disrupted agricultural production. And these severe weather events are exactly the kind of thing we’d expect to see as rising concentrations of greenhouse gases change our climate—which means that the current food prices surge may be just beginning.” What warming? The puny 0.2 degrees C we’ve had since [...]
By Dave JudayFarm Futures magazine, in an article "Ethanol is Not to Blame for Egyptian Riots," notes “as the unrest in Egypt continues and spreads, several theories are surfacing as to why the riots are happening. Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association says don't blame American ethanol production.” Moreover, the article attributes to Tom Buis, the leader of another ethanol lobby group, Growth Energy, the notion that current Egyptian and Middle East unrest is a product of “40 foolish years of leaving our economy in the hands of OPEC, leaving our economic and national security in the [...]
What am I missing? There must be some aspect of our insane energy policies that I fail to appreciate. “We the People” just booted a boatload of spendthrifts out of Congress, after they helped engineer a $1.3 trillion deficit on America’s FY-2010 budget and balloon our cumulative national debt to $13.7 trillion.The “bipartisan White House deficit reduction panel” chimed in with a 50-page draft proposal, offering suggestions for $3.8 trillion in future budgetary savings. The proposal targets $100 billion in Defense Department weapons programs, healthcare benefits and overseas bases. It also proposes a $13-billion cutback in the federal workforce and lining out [...]
When it comes to alternative fuels, ethanol is the big leader. But with concern over how rising demand for this corn-based product is driving up food costs, much research is now being done to find other so-called “biomass” sources that can be turned into fuel.
Fears repercussions from angry motorists HOLGER J. THUSS (Jena) “ production may go down as one of the biggest blunders in history. An unholy alliance of environmentalists, agribusiness, biofuel corporations and politicians has been touting ethanol as the cure to all our environmental ills, when in fact it may be doing more harm than good. An array of unintended consequences is wreaking havoc on the economy, food production and, perhaps most ironically, the environment.“ Cinnamon Stillwell, San Francisco Chronicle April 2, 2008 Berlin — The German government officially reversed plans to impose controversial legislation that would have increased the mandatory ethanol [...]