Environmentalist Jerry Jung wants ethanol policy change

Source: By JUSTIN WALSH, Crain's Detroit Business News • Posted: Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Jerry Jung, former owner of Michigan CAT and longtime environmentalist, is using his wealth to take down ethanol production.

Jung, chairman of the Michigan Colleges Alliance, recently launched RethinkEthanol.com — a website calling for the end of the federally mandated and subsidized corn-based ethanol industry.

“It’s just crazy,” Jung said. “The current ethanol policy is sold as a green, renewable and energy-independent resource. It’s a big farce. (The mandate) is a very environmentally damaging policy.”

The Renewable Fuel Standard, enacted in 2005 under the Energy Policy Act, called for increased use of biofuels in traditional gasoline. Currently, most gasoline in the U.S. contains 10 percent ethanol.

“Ethanol production requires 35 million acres to farm; that’s more than the size of Michigan,” Jung said. “The amount of pollution this produces is staggering.”

Jung has contracted a lobbyist and others to promote the cause.

Jung made his wealth partly from selling the family business, which sold, rented and serviced heavy equipment, primarily Caterpillar brand, in 2011 to Indianapolis-based MacAllister Machinery Co. Inc. for an undisclosed sum. Jung’s grandfather, Jack Frost, founded the company in 1944 as Michigan Tractor and Machinery.

In an attempt to convince legislators of the ill effects of ethanol, Jung has secured an audience with U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, he said. The campaign is also working to draft a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, he said.

“I retired a little early, I have financial resources and I’m very goal-oriented,” Jung said. “This is a worthy goal, and I’m putting everything I’ve got into it.”