Critics of Ethanol Distort the Truth
WASHINGTON, DC – Critics of America’s only viable alternative to Middle East oil – U.S.-made ethanol – are sinking to all-new lows of Twister-like distortions in an effort to smear ethanol with links to Middle East street protests.
“These are people who want to play parlor games instead of looking at the facts and really finding out how markets work, or what’s motivating protestors in the Middle East. Seeing some of the distortions and pretzel logic these folks are going through, I’d encourage them to pick up Twister, instead,” said Chris Thorne, Director of Public Affairs at Growth Energy, the coalition of U.S. ethanol producers.
One controversial TV commentator and a few fringe-element bloggers have recently deployed intellectually-weak arguments in an effort to blame ethanol for rioting and upheaval in Cairo, Egypt, and elsewhere. They attempt to link wheat prices in the Middle East with demand for corn starch for ethanol in U.S. ethanol production – ignoring the following, undisputed facts:
- A highly-desired livestock feed, “dried distillers grains,” or DDGs, are a co-product of the production of ethanol, which only removes the starch but leaves the protein, oil and fibers of the corn kernel to go into the food chain as DDGs. Each pound of DDGs can replace 1.25 pounds of field corn as livestock feed.
- A European Union commission issued a Feb. 2 report found that wild swings in the cost of major commodities – such as wheat – are caused by speculators and the derivatives market. No mention of biofuels or ethanol was made in the EU’s findings.
- A peer-reviewed paper published by the journal Energy concluded there is no sustainable link between food prices and biofuels production.
- The U.S. consumes 25 percent of global oil production but ethanol demands only 3 percent of global grain supply, according to some studies.
The United States is on track to continue meeting all export demand for livestock feed – as well as meet all domestic demand for feed, food and fuel – and still have surplus corn in storage this year.
Steve McNinch, CEO of Western Plains Energy, in Oakley, Kan., and a member of the Growth Energy Board of Directors, pointed out that there were “millions of bushels of grain piled on the ground” in Northwest Kansas because the region’s entire grain elevator system were full.
“At one point, there was at least one elevator company out here that had as much as 22 million bushels of corn on the ground, because it was at storage capacity. Any of these so-called ‘experts’ who are claiming there’s a short supply of grain are welcome to come out to the farm and see firsthand that there’s no problem producing all the grain we need,” McNinch said. “People who are blaming ethanol for what’s happening in Egypt need to check their facts. If anything, ethanol can replace oil from OPEC – and we can make more of it because of all the excess grain we have in this country.”
About Growth Energy
Growth Energy is a group committed to the promise of agriculture and growing America’s economy through cleaner, greener energy. Growth Energy members recognize America needs a new ethanol approach. Through smart policy reform and a proactive grassroots campaign, Growth Energy promotes reducing greenhouse gas emissions, expanding the use of ethanol in gasoline, decreasing our dependence on foreign oil, and creating American jobs at home. More information can be found at GrowthEnergy.org.