Say no to corn ethanol

By Martin St. Aubin

I am imploring the members of Congress and the next president of the United States to withdrawal the mandates and subsidies of corn ethanol and to reinvest in more economically and environmentally efficient alternative energies.

There seems, however, to be a growing gap between rising political support and the negative empirical data. A recently passed federal energy bill “requires an increase in the use of ethanol and other biofuels to roughly five times their current level – to 36 billion gallons by 2022.” Politicians such as John McCain “vehemently opposed ethanol as an outrageous agribusiness boondoggle” after realizing his unpopular position in Washington, though, now calls corn ethanol “vital alternative energy source.” These decisions are not only hasty; it’s impulsive without truly understanding the long-term effects of such a decision. The $8 billion spent in subsidies of ethanol need to be reinvested into research of untapped resources such as animal fats, algae and wasted cooking oil would alleviate both the stress of rising fuel and food prices. What our politicians do not understand is that the costs of producing corn ethanol far outweigh any and all benefits.

The major benefit, proponents of corn ethanol will argue, is the U.S. dependence on oil will shift from international to domestic which will have numerous economic and environmental benefits. The problem with this initiative is the scope is far too narrow; it fails to see the indirect effects of a greater demand for corn.

Martin St. Aubin

Junior in ACES