On Nov. 2 we elected a new Congress which is pledged to make major cuts in federal government spending. One of its most tempting cost targets is the $6 billion subsidy for the 12.6 billion gallons of corn ethanol for 2011, mandated by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act(EISA).
Producing this ethanol will use 5 billion corn bushels, 40 percent of our total crop. It will require more than 30 million prime crop acres for 7 percent of our gasoline supply.
A University of Minnesota study led by Professor Sangwon Suh recently estimated that in the U.S. an average of 162 gallons of water are consumed to produce a gallon of ethanol from corn. Drier states with more irrigation use more water, with Kansas and Nebraska requiring 500 water gallons per ethanol gallon. Much of that water is drawn from the Ogallala Aquifer.
Also this November, The European Environmental Policy Institute reported that their Renewable Energy Directive for bioethanol is leading to twice as many "GHG emissions than meeting the same need through fossil fuel use." This is primarily the result of indirect land use change which will cause an additional annual release of "between 44 and 77 million tonnes of CO2e" from now to 2020.
A 2008 study by Germany's Max Planck Institute and the University of California's Scripps Institute reported that the nitrogen fertilizers required by biofuel crops were releasing "enough nitrous oxide to cause climate warming instead of cooling." The study was led by Nobel chemist Paul Crutzen. Some of the U.S. nitrogen ends up in the Mississippi, fostering those dead zones in the Delta and the Gulf.
Thirty years of subsidies have not made food for fuel competitive or useful. Here's your chance, new Congress.
Tax the upper 2 percent
Tax 'em! It's the civic duty of the upper 2 percent of the taxpayers in this country to pay more in taxes than the rest of us. Why do so many in the middle class feel sorry for them? Do they really think that someday they will be in that category and then they will want to keep their money too? Get real. Tax 'em! The rest of us would like schools, roads and firefighters, and there is nothing left here. Did they work so hard for their money that they deserve to keep it? Doubt it. They do not work any harder than I do. Guarantee it.
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