By Brian McGraw
During the annual National Ethanol Conference, where ethanol rent-seekers enthusiasts from around the country gather to discuss achievement of the still-out-of-reach goal of making significant amounts of ethanol commercially viable. It’s always just a few years away.
Very early that morning, the House voted to de-fund EPA’s program to implement E15 throughout the country as well as funding for the installation of blender pumps. Growth Energy responded, “OPEC Wins, America Loses in House Vote.” Explaining his amendment, Jeff Flakes stated: “I’ve long thought that the ethanol industry should be able to stand on its own — not be propped up by federal subsidies.”
The Senate has signaled that they will not be accepting the House package as is, and there will almost certainly be last minute negotiations as to which spending cuts stay and which go. Hopefully, the Senate can agree that the expansion of ethanol isn’t in the nations best interest, and can be cut.
In signaling the president’s continued quest to selectively support the science, Energy Secretary Steven Chu attended the event and had a number of nice words to say about ethanol, reassuring Iowans that Obama is doing everything he can to keep the green-river flowing. On Chu’s attendance, Bob Dineen commented:
Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen introduced the videotaped remarks from Chu at the end of his state of the industry address that opened the conference. “I believe in redemption,” Dinneen said, referring to the oft repeated dislike of corn ethanol by the secretary of energy. “Sec. Chu’s comments about our industry have been misconstrued,” he said.
The statement he is referring to is when Chu said: “Ethanol is not an ideal transportation fuel.” It seems that this type of blunt comment would be hard to misconstrue, and its more likely that Chu is still adjusting to putting his scientific experience behind his primary role as a political spokesman. His office, afterwards, issued a mea culpa.