Tuesday, April 16, 2002

Ethanol Update

The opposition is mounting: both the New York Times and Washington Post editorial boards now thinks that ethanol programs are a bad idea. In an editorial today on the main provisions of the Senate energy bill, the NYT wrote:

"The provisions the Senate seems ready to pass are mainly dubious. One of these, the brainchild of farm- and plains-state senators, is a so-called ethanol mandate that would triple the amount of ethanol used as a fuel additive. Senator Charles Schumer of New York, among others, has correctly called this a giveaway to the farm states (ethanol is derived from starches, mainly corn), a potential drain on the Highway Trust Fund and a threat to clean air."

And the Washington Post piles on:

"The four Democratic senators from California and New York are calling this ethanol provision what it is: a scheme to funnel money to agribusiness and corn states at the expense of the rest of the country. One amendment to limit the ethanol mandate was rebuffed last Thursday, but there may be another chance today. The Senate should back the effort to remove the ethanol provision from the energy bill, and Sen. Daschle should not resist, despite his farm-state loyalties. Democrats have been trying to score points against the Bush administration by demonstrating the link between corporate lobbyists and the White House energy policy. If the Senate's Democratic leaders now use the energy bill to funnel money to Archer Daniels Midland and its ilk, they'll look like hypocrites."

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