I’ve said before that when the Democrats propose a tax credit it’s called a “business incentive” and when a Republican proposes a tax credit it’s called a “loophole.” This game of semantics only works because of a complicit media which is more than willing to apply the Democrat designated classifications to ensure the correct narrative.
In reality, all sides are using fancy words to avoid the one word that best describes what is happening: subsidization.
Subsidies aren’t necessarily inherently bad. There can be subsidies that work in favor of economic growth or better opportunities for the disadvantaged. But more often than not, subsidies are used as a way to prop up industries that serve other agendas. Like elections for instance.
Such is the case with ethanol and specifically the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) plan to allow 15% ethanol blended with gasoline (E15) to enter the marketplace..
The ethanol industry, with the blessing of Congress and the Obama Administration, is lobbying the EPA to mandate increased ethanol usage. This would be accomplished by increasing the allowable proportion of ethanol in gasoline from 10% to 15% (E10 to E15). In addition, ethanol lobbyists are pushing the administration for fleet mandates on automakers, to require a higher percentage of flex fuel vehicles (FFVs) capable of running on ethanol blends of up to 85% (E85). (emphasis mine)
So, in an effort to win the support of “Big Corn” (which is actually pretty big), the U.S. government is going to force a product on the market that no one is asking for and actually drives up the cost of food making it even more difficult for poor people the world over to get access to the most basic of foods.
In an interview with the Financial Times, General Mills, which produces Cheerios cereal, Häagen-Dazs ice-cream and other major brands, also blamed ethanol subsidies for driving up food prices. Ken Powell the company’s chief executive said the price of corn and oats was up by 30 to 40% over last year.
“We’re driving up food prices unnecessarily,” Ken Powell, chief executive of General Mills, said in the interview. “If corn prices go up, wheat goes up. It’s all linked.”
But subsidies aren’t the only reason to reject the EPA’s plan to introduce E15. A “Dear Colleague” letter from Rep. John Sullivan (R) and Rep. Gary Peters (R) cites a new GAO report which reveals that this blend blend would actually be a danger to current cars on the road.
From the letter:
As you know, last year EPA made a premature decision to permit E15 to be used in model year (MY) 2001 and newer vehicles. This decision was made prior to the completion of critical vehicle testing. Vehicles on the road today are build and warranted to withstand only up to 10% of ethanol in gasoline. E15 not only threatens to harm vehicles but also boats, snowmobiles, and small engine equipment such as lawnmowers and snow blowers. E15 has also demonstrated harmful effects on the environment.
Read the whole letter here. Read the GAO report on biofuels here.
So where is the EPA getting the authorization to introduce a fuel standard which may very well be harmful to the car you’re going to be driving to work in tomorrow? From those pesky Clean Air and Clean Water Acts which seem to grant them unlimited authority to regulate whatever they want and ignore any concerns raised by independent studies.
Reps. Sullivan and Peters have introduced amendment to HR 2584 (Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012) with the following important language:
No funds made available by this Act may be used to implement – (1) the decision of the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency entitled “Partial Grant and Partial Denial of Clean Air Act Waiver Application Submitted by Growth Energy To Increase the Allowable Ethanol Content of Gasoline to 15 Percent” published in the Federal Register on November 4, 2010 (75 Fed. Reg. 68093 et seq.); or (2) the decision of the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency entitled “Partial Grant of Clean Air Act Waiver Application Submitted by Growth Energy to Increase the Allowable Ethanol Content of Gasoline to 15 Percent” published in the Federal Register on January 26, 2011 (76 Fed. Reg. 4662 et seq.).
That’s legislative speak for “Mr. President, you can’t use any part of this to pay for your green dreams of screwing up our ‘gas guzzlers’ by recklessly introducing untested new standards just so you can send as much money as possible from the tax payer to voting blocks in corn states. Now stop screwing around in the market and figure out how to get your lame Democrat colleagues in the Congress to propose a budget for once in the 950+ since you took office you gigantic screw-up.”
Or something like that.