Suddenly, Washington Post Is Against Using Food For Fuel (’cause Trump)

This reminds me of the time that the NY Times came to the realization that using food for fuel is a Bad Idea (it’s worth reading the full article, as it still applies today). Of course, that was during the Obama administration (4/7/2011), so there was no hint of Blaming Obama. Now we have the Washington Post Editorial Board coming to the same realization, though, it seems more due to Trump resistance than anything else

Doubling down on the biofuel boondoggle

FOR MORE THAN a decade, the United States has pursued the foolhardy energy policy known as the Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS. Thanks to legislation passed by a Democratic Congress and signed into law by a Republican president, George W. Bush, in 2007, the RFS illustrates the sad-but-true principle of Washington life that bipartisanship is no guarantee of wisdom. In a nutshell, the RFS required the nation’s petroleum refiners to blend ever-increasing quantities of biofuels, chiefly ethanol, into gasoline, purportedly to promote energy independence and fight climate change.

Never mind that the United States has meanwhile become a major oil exporter, due to a production boom. Never mind that the environmental harms of ethanol arguably outweigh its benefits, because it takes massive amounts of energy to distill ethanol from corn — and massive amounts of fragile farmland to grow that crop. Never mind that diverting resources into corn production for ethanol raises the price of food. Never mind all that, because 39 percent of Iowa’s corn crop goes to create nearly 30 percent of all U.S. ethanol. And Iowa is a swing state with six crucial electoral votes and a first-in-the-nation presidential caucus; whatever Iowa wants, Iowa gets, from politicians of both parties.

All excellent points. Biofuels from agricultural sources are pretty much a bad idea. It’s worked well with sugar down in Brazil, but, even there, you have massive soil erosion, air pollution from burning the fields, and it uses a lot of water to produce. And it still doesn’t have the power of gasoline.

But, wait, here we go

Hence President Trump’s announcement, on the midterm-election campaign trail in Iowa, that he would, in effect, double down on this decreasingly justifiable policy. Mr. Trump declared that the Environmental Protection Agency will draft regulations allowing the year-round sale of motor fuel containing 15 percent ethanol, as opposed to the 10 percent limitation in effect for several months a year because of air-pollution concerns related to summertime atmospheric conditions. This would incentivize gas station owners to install pumps capable of delivering the fuel, thus boosting ethanol sales.

Trump was obviously doing this as he stumped in the areas where ethanol production is popular, and the editorial points this out, but, the WPEB never had a problem with Obama calling for more ethanol, issuing more ethanol mandates, nor backing massive subsidy increases for ethanol, among others.

I don’t like ethanol. It’s bad for food prices. It’s bad for the environment. It is bad for climate change. If you believe in man-caused, it puts out massive amounts of CO2. If you’re not a big believer in AGW, well, it actually helps with land use changes which artificially change the localized weather and temperatures in a myriad of ways, such as clear-cutting. It doesn’t provide the fuel power like gasoline that would make you say “OK, it has these problems, but, it’s worth it, but, let’s try and keep it as clean as possible.” I try and avoid gas stations which I know actually use that “may include up to 10% ethanol” and have 10%, because the car doesn’t run as well.

But, this editorial shows that the WPEB is against it simply because Trump is pushing it. Perhaps someone can find an editorial where they were against using food for fuel. I don’t remember one, and I would have posted it. I can’t find one in a search. This is kind of a low level Trump Derangement Syndrome. If Trump came out in favor of an assault weapons ban or became pro-illegal, they’d find a way to be against those things.

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