- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 21, 2002

Using the shibboleth of promoting "renewable" energy resources, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and other Democratic big-wigs are about to dole out yet more corporate welfare to the ethanol lobby most notably the giant agribusiness conglomerate Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), so-called "supermarket to the world."
Ethanol is an alcohol fuel (and motor fuel additive) derived from corn, and thus is touted as a way to help end America's dependence upon Mideast oil, as well as help the environment. But ethanol is no environmental panacea, and it is not energy efficient. Producing ethanol is costly and complex and in point of fact uses up more oil-based energy resources than the gasoline and other motor fuels it would ostensibly replace. Also, burning ethanol in an internal combustion engine creates environmental problems, too.
Yet Mr. Daschle and his fellow porkers in the House and Senate want to extend the existing subsidy to ethanol producers for at least another decade crop subsidies since 1996 alone have been worth more than $30 billion and mandate the increased use of ethanol as an additive to gasoline. A provision inserted into the Senate version of the energy bill would force gasoline refiners to use 5 billion gallons of ethanol as a component of the motor fuels they produce by 2012. That's more than double the current amount of ethanol being used.
Moreover, ethanol played a big role in last year's fuel shortages and price spikes, so forcing refiners to use yet more ethanol which is produced almost entirely by a cartel of three major companies, the biggest of which is ADM could mean a repeat of those problems.
It's up to decent lawmakers of both parties to see to it that Mr. Daschle doesn't succeed in legislating this pay-off to his buddies at Archer Daniels Midland.


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