Monday, June 14, 2010

KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE AND YOUR ENEMIES CLOSER

There’s a new movement afoot in the US and it goes something like this: if corn is bad, corn-based ethanol is worse.

We receive a publication here in the office called The Ethanol Monitor and Friday’s edition featured a front page story by Editor and Publisher Tom Waterman that named the top 10 enemies of ethanol. Some of the listed enemies are blogs and authors I wasn’t well acquainted with and I bet you aren’t either.

This further drives home the message that conversations are happening every hour of every day that agriculture isn’t a part of, so I’d encourage you to click through some of these links and educate yourself. It is raining out there after all.

GRIST is an environmental blog that hits number nine on the countdown and according to Waterman, if you enter “ethanol” in the search button, you will find more than 1,100 entries, not including comments, that are 100% negative. He also mentions that this blog carries a lot of weight with the environmental community and that they could easily be ranked higher than number nine.

Robert Rapier and his blog, R Squared Energy Blog, is ranked as the number five worst enemy of ethanol for time spent discrediting every positive development in the ethanol industry. He is a big fan of the indirect land use theory and according to Waterman is very influential. Also, he’s a former Conoco Phillips employee and is definitely a Big Oil fan.

An Honorable Mention went to Mark Perry whose blog, Carpe Diem, highlights other articles against ethanol like that of fellow Honorable Mention, Robert Bryce. Scroll down to June 10 and June 11 dates to get a flavor of the position he’s pushing.

And because I can’t link to the article or republish without author consent, I wanted to offer to you the entire Top Ten enemies of ethanol according to Tom Waterman.

#10: Business Week/Ed Wallace (Bloomberg)
#9: GRIST
#8: “Big Oil”
#7: Grocery Manufacturers Association
#6: David Pimentel
#5: Robert Rapier
#4: Tim Searchinger
#3: Wall Street Journal (editorial board)
#2: California Air Resources Board
#1: Time Magazine (Michael Grunwald)

Waterman also notes that the number one slot could have easily gone to “mainstream media” who publish uninformed articles and are too lazy to complete adequate research, but he was trying to be more specific.

To obtain a copy of this article, Ethanol’s Top 10 Enemies, email info@oilintel.com or call 732-222-5578.

Lindsay Mitchell
ICGA/ICMB Project Coordinator

49 comments:

  1. You forgot one enemy; the American people; it bad for our air, bad for the cars and bad for the world's poor.

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  2. Corn based ethanol is the worst idea in decades. Big waste of time and money. The only people that support it have vested/personal interests in making money off it period. The American taxpayers will only see the wasting of billions of dollars. Shame on you ethanol flacks!!!

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  3. If ethanol is so great, why don't the corn farmers use E85 in their personal vehicles and tractors instead of wasting all that diesel fuel trucking the ethanol to the big cities.

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  4. I am looking forward to our drive to Iowa so that I can get some "clean" gas.

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  5. It's a SCAM now, and it was a Scam the other times it was the newest and greatest thing

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  6. Let's eliminate all farm subsidies (including corn/ethanol). We can no longer afford to do so. (There are many other cuts we need to make as well).

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  7. Ethanol is a congressional gift to ADM and others. Get rid of it NOW!!

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  8. I listen to Ed Wallace in North Texas and he is right about the scam called Ethanol. Why do I have to put a fuel in my car in North Texas that will make my 1996 Corrola with 254,000 miles run worse, clog my fuel filter and make the air dirter in Texas? Why are Tea Bagers who are corn farmers taking tax dollars to make this fuel additive? Want to reduce the federal deficit, do away with the welfare program for Ethanol.

    Harold Willis

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  9. thank god for ed wallace

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  10. other enemies of ethanol-

    the millions of Americans that have had to pay $1000 for new fuel pumps.
    anyone that depends on small engines at work or home
    anyone that buys fertilizer
    anyone that used corn as feed for production animals
    boat owners

    people that have objectively looked at the ethanol issue

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  11. The ethanol industry produces a product. Having critics who do not produce anything, like RR, is to be expected.

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  12. >>>And because I can’t link to the article or republish without author consent

    You are a liar. You CAN link to any article.

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  13. Sorry but the American people are smarter than the ethanol industry gives them credit for. People have ruined car motors running so called clean burning ethanol. Who pays when a person buys ethanol laced gasoline that is mislabled that destroys their engine. This stuff causes emission problems, runs up food prices, causes hunger in other countries, gets worse mileage.

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  14. Bad for my engine, bad for my gas mileage, bad for the air, and less horsepower to boot. Try selling your corn to a feed lot, or a human consumption supplier. Quit ruining the nation's fuel supply. Try growing a crop people actually want instead of what the polictical hacks send you subsidy money for. What a novel concept!

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  15. Ethanol is not the enemy. Corn-based ethanol is.

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  16. I am a strong supporter for the American Farmer, but forcing a fuel on the public that produces inferior mielage and performance, and actually causes damage to engines and fuel systems, and causes more harm to the environment in production thatn what it saves is rediculous. Ethynol is a joke. Feed the whole world, but don't force inferior and ineffective products on the public

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  17. We cannot grow our way to energy independence. For corn ethanol, the energy used to create it, is greater than the energy outputted from corn ethanol. So, we get a negative return. That is not good economics. Corn ethanol in our gasoline, lowers MPG and thus, increases our use of petroleum. Corn ethanol will cause engine failure and damages when not properly mixed with gasoline. Distributors have been reported to mix ethanol to gasoline at percentages higher than the 10% gov't mandate. Studies show if the entire state of Texas were planted in corn, the ethanol created would be insignificant to America's energy needs. How about all the water and fertilizer wasted on ethanol? Corn ethanol is bad for MPG, our wallets, and America's energy future.
    Concerned Citzen
    Dallas, TX

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  18. AS a regular writer and teacher of energy subjects, I often comment on the taxpayer funded corn ethanol scam. I am very disappointed that I failed to make your enemies list.

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  19. Like a commenter said before. Ethanol isn't the problem, corn based ethanol is the problem.

    Might as well face the ugly facts. Now that Obama is backing you, it's plainly obvious that it can't work as advertised.

    Have a nice day.

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  20. Corn-based ethanol is one of the biggest scams currently being perpetrated against the American public, and we get the pleasure of subsidizing it too. If ethanol is such a good fuel, remove the subsidies and mandates and let it compete in a free market, oh and remove the tariffs on the import of it too.

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  21. I don't know why anyone is beating up on Ms. Mitchell, she didn't come up with the "Top 10 Enemy List", Tom Waterman did.

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  22. I have lived on my family farm my entire life and it is absolutely heartwrenching to read the comments that have been posted above! The hardworking men and women that you are criticizing are my dad and mom, uncles and aunts, grandpas and grandmas, cousins, friends, and myself! Day in and day out our American farmers are working in weather conditions nearly unbearable to provide each of YOU with the food, clothing, and various other products that you could not live without! Their days do not start when they get to the office or end when the clock strikes three. Farmers do not receive a steady paycheck. In fact, every year is a gamble as to what their income may be. It is unknown to me how anyone could be so critical of an industry without actually doing some research! Are you oblivious to what is currently happening with the oil spill?! American farmers have been working for years to provide our country with a renewable fuel source! Ethanol decreases greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20%, resulting in a cleaner environment for future generations. It is safe for flex fuel vehicles and provides them with the same capabilities as gasoline! In all reality, ethanol only makes up about 17% of the field corn usage in the United States and about 9% of total corn is used for human processing. Therefore there is plenty to go around! Also,increasing our ethanol use will decrease gas prices for consumers! Before you bash the only industry that has done nothing but provide for you ever since this country was started please get your facts straight! Also, take a closer look into the life of a farmer; believe it or not, they're amazing people who love what they do!

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  23. "Ethanol decreases greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20%, "

    Funny math on 10% blend, my car gets 15-20% less miles per gallon on the blend, so I burn more fuel to go the same miles, how does this reduce emissions?

    MTBE was the same scam, now it is in our water.




    I don't think anyone was bashing farming as a whole, just the use of corn for ethanol and the subsidies connected to it.


    .

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  24. There are a great many rude, crude comments about this topic. We all need to be civil. Ethanol is a good thing IF informed consent is given and ALL oil and corn-ethanol subsidies were taken away.

    That being said, my 2009 Briggs and Stratton lawnmower warranty card clearly states, "the use of gasohol (ethanol enriched gas) will void ANY AND ALL warranty repairs on this engine" (emphasis added). To me, this is a clear sign that small engines are still being built without ethanol as a fuel source.

    Thank you for your time,
    Sam

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  25. To "I have lived on my family farm my entire life"... "with the food, clothing, and various other products that you could not live without!" I am sorry you too were scammed by the government to think corn ethanol would be your fortune. I suggest you stick to the food, clothing,and other products you mentioned that your family has produced for all those years prior to the recent ethanol scam by Washington and certain legislators from Iowa, Nebraska and other corn states. People do have to eat, and be clothed. The current trend to much higher mileage vehicles will only continue to lessen the demand for ethanol-blended fuels. I have often wondered how you all expect to sell more and more ethanol promised by legislation and at the same time the government is mandating high mileage vehicles. And why the corn states do not mandate E85 flex-fuel vehicles only be sold in those states. And have more E85 pumps available. The corn states could lead by example. Perhaps people in those states don't want to use it, like other people who own non-road use gasoline powered equipment that the fuel system parts hoses etc fall apart within a year of new from exposure to even 10% ethanol.

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  26. Ed Wallace should not be number 10, he should be number 1. He should also wear this like a badge of honor. Most honest guy in this energy fiasco.

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  27. Texas Farms & Ranches Feed the World not gas up Toyotas and Datsuns
    Real farmers and ranchers grow products and raise animals people need and purchase without government subsidies.

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  28. if ethanol is so great lets remove the $.54 per gallon tariff on imported ethanol.
    -also end the $.51 per gallon blenders tax credit ( after all its use is mandated! there is a buyer)

    Ethanol wholesale spot price is currently 86% of gasoline wholesale-add the overall subsidy for ethanol $1.45 per gallon! COSTING CONSUMERS 65% MORE PER GALLON THAN WHOLESALE UNLEADED! and thats before you factor in transport costs and the reduction in mileage.

    ethanol as a fuel additive has much more to do with where the first primary is held than reducing our dependence on oil.

    corn ethanol...we cant afford it

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  29. For action ideas on combating ethanol scam check out the Ethanol Transparency Project (ETP) at
    www.agribusinesscouncil.org/Ethanol.htm

    Stop talking about this dangerous scourge (Ethanol) and start doing something about it!
    Boycott it and patronize those gas stations which still sell "pure gas" --write your elected representatives and demand they curb this deficit bulging abuse before ADM and its so-called "Ethanol lobby" corrupt the rest of the country using the ill-gotten subsidies to flood the airways with zenophobic, delusional ads. They're using your taxdollars to push ethanol and discredit all those who would speak in the Nation's interest.

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  30. Bobby Taylor from Denison, TexasJune 17, 2010 at 8:36 AM

    If Ed Wallace made your list, you need to change your business model. There are few journalists I listen to, because we don't have journalists with the integrity of Ed Wallace. Ed's reporting comes from hundreds if not thousands of hours of research (a lost art in today's era of profit driven, lazy media). If ethanol is so great, why does it require trade protection from Brazilian ethanol. It's funny how free marketers like protectionism when they are profiting. The 30 million people who saw their jobs off-shored would like to enjoy the same benefit. Ethanol destroys engines and the environment. The shame is that we are paying for your profits now and we will have to pay for cleaning up your mess later. The new American business model: "Privatize the profits and socialize the losses".

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  31. Stay on 'em ED.

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  32. RR has banned me from replying to his posts for my post here. RR has written another diatribe explaining why he is ‘not’ against ethanol. He likes how they make ethanol in Brazil with slave labor wages.

    I grew up in Ohio and Indiana (among other places) and have worked at 4 power plants in Illinois. While I have not lived there in more than 15 years, last week I had occasion to visit. Perfect conditions for growing corn but not very good for sugar cane.

    Thanks to American farmers I am not using E10 in my 22 year old POV. Keep up the good work.

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  33. I think its a scam to get more tax dollars. It burns less efficient, therefor you need to to purchase more of it to go the same distance. The oil companies sell more, and the government makes more by way of the gasoline tax. It's a tax hike that no one every realizes.

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  34. Doug Koplow has posted a nice article on this on his blog:

    http://earthtrack.net/blog/ethanol-industry-develops-enemies-list

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  35. Why are so many of these comments Anonymous? If you believe so strongly in what you are saying, put your name on it!

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  36. Kit at this point your infatuation with RR is taking on overtones of cyberstalking. Nobody can understand why he didn't completely ban you long ago. To the casual observer it looked like you were trying to get banned with your constant personal attacks. Maybe you thought that could get you some sympathy, but everyone knows your history. Now that you have carried your jihad to another board and are telling lies in order to slander RR, if I were him I would never let you post there again. Everyone has long grown tired of your vapid and self-centered commentary anyway.

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  37. Doug Koplow (not even an honorable mention?!) has a nice piece on the Top 10 list over at his blog:

    http://earthtrack.net/blog/ethanol-industry-develops-enemies-list

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  38. I went to my local small engine repair shop and asked them which riding mower I should buy in order to have the lowest maintenance. They laughed and said that a couple of years ago they would have several suggestions but now, with ethanol, they all come in, every year. With all the damage being done to engines under the 10% mandate the Ethanol lobby is now pushing for a fuel mix that mandates 15%. The Ethanol industry doesn't care about people, the environment, or the fiscal responsibility. Face it, Ethanol sucks as an additive for gasoline powered vehicles (and lets not even get into what it does to fiberglass fuel tanks on watercraft).

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  39. Liberal Democrat here. Ed Wallace gives the documented facts and references his sources. He is thorough and presents a historical perspective as well. You think Ethanol hates him, you should see what the wind-power group thinks. Face it, he has the integrity to say what others fear to say, and the gumption to dig his heels in a back it up. He should indeed be honored that he made the list. That also suggest we take a look at the others on the list for a bit more clarity.

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  40. Amazing how many negative comments on a corn blog...makes you wonder if this was a coordinated campaign to pollute the blog entries....nay "big oil" would never do anything like that would they now!! As we can see from recent events they are completely trust worthy and of course never receive a dime or favorable treatment from the government.

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  41. Cindy,

    "If you believe so strongly in what you are saying, put more than just your first name on it!"

    Ah, internet espionage. I suspect you are Cindy Zimmerman, the corn ethanol lobbyist who publishes the Domestic Fuel blog, and by using only a first name without a link, you can deny this should someone point it out, or have another person named Cindy deny it ...tricky ; )

    These anon posters are taking reasonable precautions. Note that the corn ethanol lobby does not limit itself to critiquing research, they publicly attack individuals including the lead authors of published research (Pimentel, Searchinger, etc).

    Note also the hint of militarism here (Corn Corps with Kernels in charge) as well as in the Domestic Fuel blog where a recent post talks about a general (Wesley Clark of Growth "Force") addressing the "troops."

    The fact that corn ethanol enjoys broad support from both Democrat and Republican politicians (Bush, McCain, and Obama all used it to buy votes from the farm belt) is the only thing keeping this debate from degenerating into another intractable culture war.

    Ironically, and irrationally, science-based debate is being drowned out to garner government handouts for the same crowd that purports to reject global warming and government handouts.

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  42. Judging from the number of comments this post must have touched a nerve. Good job Lindsay. Did anyone else notice that the one thing missing in all these comments negative to ethanol is an alternative solution?

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  43. Well said, Russ. Yes, I had noticed that brand of militaristic lingo, coming on top of good old-fashioned jingoism, creep into the debate over time. Here's a typical line from a recent story in Ethanol Producer Magazine:

    "Calling the troops to battle, '[General] Clark echoed the Carl Sandburg poem 'Chicago, saying 'We’re going to be Stormy, husky, and brawling in taking back the message about the benefits of ethanol.

    Stormy ... troops. Hmmmm.

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  44. mus302 said,

    "Did anyone else notice that the one thing missing in all these comments negative to ethanol is an alternative solution?"

    If by that, you mean ways to use less oil, there are many ways to use less oil. You could drive a Prius, impose a highway speed limit like we had for almost two decades and save 2.5 times more oil than ethanol produced annually.

    You could take the five billion dollars in subsidies given to oil company blenders last year and cut a $10,000 check to bribe half a million people not to drive and save the same amount of oil as ethanol did, without building hundreds of ethanol refineries, and on and on.

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  45. The evidence of the damage done to the ethanol industry by my top 10 list is quite evident in the majority of posts above. Most show an absolute ignorance of energy costs and solutions. Many talk about subsidies to the ethanol industry, without including the massive subsidies that the oil industry receives. Do you ever consider the costs the American taxpayer bears to make sure the world has access to oil? Would we have a massive military presence in the Persian Gulf if the region exported peanuts? How many Americans must die to make sure we have cheap gasoline to burn? Connect the dots before you make unfounded accusations about subsidies. Frankly, ethanol is part of the solution...not the silver bullet...some of you actually seem to like the idea of cellulosic ethanol; there won't be cellulosic ethanol without corn-ethanol. A marketplace must evolve, and without government support in the form of mandates, and blenders credits, where will the investment come from? The infrastructure has evolved precisely because corn-ethanol has progressed. And for those of you that keep talking about how ethanol has no net energy contribution, check out the latest study from the USDA at: http://renewablefuelsassociation.cmail3.com/t/y/l/birtlu/jrjijjzk/r

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  46. I'd love to see how much corn based ethanol there would be sans the farm bill.

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  47. I'm proud to say I'm an ethanol consumer. Corn is a great resource for food, feed and FUEL.

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  48. E85 is great. If you want to remove the corn subsidies for ethanol creation that's fine with me, but in doing so you better remove the subsidies that the oil giants get as well. I agree with Tom. Subsidy or not i would rather support our farmers here than, giant oil on the other side of the world.

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