Boston Globe wrong to oppose ethanol subsidies

Source: By Bob Dinneen, RFA, Boston Globe Letters • Posted: Tuesday, March 24, 2015

THE FACT that Texas Senator and potential presidential candidate Ted Cruz opposed federal ethanol subsidies at the recent Iowa Ag Summit and that Texas Governor Rick Perry opposed them in his 2012 White House bid is not surprising, as they both come from an oil state.

The fact that the Boston Globe so readily echoes the oil industry narrative about ethanol is surprising (“Bucking the Ethanol Lobby — Even in Iowa,” Editorial, March 16).

Ethanol has support across rural America because it has revitalized the farm economy by driving down federal farm-program costs while creating jobs and stimulating investment. Because of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which requires refiners to utilize an increasing amount of renewable energy resources like ethanol and biodiesel, US dependence on imports has fallen, as well as gas prices, and investments in new technologies like cellulosic biofuels are now giving rise to the next generation of transportation fuels.

By any measure, the RFS has been an unmitigated success. The oil company canard repeated by the Globe, that ethanol has increased food prices, is belied by the facts. Corn is less expensive today than when the RFS was enacted. Farmers responded to increased demand with increased production driven by higher yields per acre. The UN has noted food prices are driven by energy costs, not grain prices, as only 17 cents of every $1 is returned to the farmer. The Globe is also wrong in declaring ethanol more expensive than gasoline. Ethanol today, and for most of the time the RFS has been in place, is cheaper than gasoline at wholesale.

Those are the facts. Ethanol is important to more than just Iowa. It’s important to consumers everywhere who want alternatives to fracking, deep water drilling, tar sands, and imported petroleum that is putting our economy, national security, and environment at risk.

Bob Dinneen is President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association.