- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 21, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Tuesday's Washington Times editorial “Administration caves to Big Corn” (Comment & Analysis) ignores the hidden costs of our addiction to foreign oil and what moving to higher blends of ethanol could mean to help strengthen our national security, while helping our economy by creating U.S. jobs that cannot be outsourced.

Our dependency on foreign oil costs more than $300 billion annually - or $1,000 a year for every man, woman and child in the United States. It’s about 60 percent of the total U.S. trade deficit, and equivalent to half of our national defense budget.

That’s why the recent decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to allow more domestic ethanol to be pumped into our fuel supply is so important to our economy, to our environment and to our national security. By EPA’s own estimates, grain ethanol is a low-carbon fuel that is cleaner than gasoline refined from oil. Simply moving to E15 would cut emissions equivalent to taking 1.35 million cars from the road, displace as much as 7 billion gallons of gasoline and create 136,000 jobs. At a time when unemployment is at a staggering 10 percent, these jobs will play a significant role in our economic recovery.

Predictably, some have suggested that the timing of the E15 decision was political, but I can tell you that is simply not the case. There has been more testing of E15 than there has been of any other fuel additive in the history of the Clean Air Act. EPA’s role is solely to determine whether E15 was a suitable fuel for today’s cars and emissions systems, and only after all 18 months of testing on those models did they approve E15 for cars 2007 and newer.

Ultimately, American consumers and policymakers need to face the fact that as a nation we must invest in alternative fuels that will help us break our addiction to foreign oil and strengthen our economy instead of the economies of other nations.

EPA, with their initial decision on E15, has put us on the road toward achieving these goals. With approval of E15 for more vehicles - EPA is expected to decide on models 2001-2006 next month when that engine testing is complete - we will only accelerate our nation’s progress.

JIM NUSSLE

Former Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Iowa

Washington

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