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Environmentalist says biofuels worse for climate than gasoline

University of Michigan’s Energy Institute research professor John DeCicco, Ph.D., believes that rising carbon dioxide emissions are causing global warming and, therefore, humans must find a way to reduce its levels in the atmosphere—but ethanol is the wrong solution. According…

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The Renewable Fuel Standard: “set up for fraud”

Wednesday, July 20, representing the latest fraudster to be convicted—but not the first and surely not the last—“a jury found an Indiana man guilty of securities fraud and other crimes connected to a massive biodiesel fraud scheme,” reported Greenwire. It…

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Renewable Fuel Standard: Stealing food to make unnecessary ethanol

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)—also known as the ethanol mandate—was passed by Congress in 2005 and expanded in 2007. Regardless of market conditions, it required ever-increasing quantities of biofuel be blended into the nation’s gasoline supply—though the Environmental Protection Agency…

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Who is right about ethanol, Trump or Cruz?

Terry Branstad was first elected governor of Iowa in 1982. His six terms in office have made him the longest-serving governor in American history and the most influential politician in the state. He rarely takes sides in the Republican caucuses…

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Ted Cruz and Rand Paul Deserve Praise for their Admirable and Principled Opposition to Corrupt Ethanol Subsidies

Because I don’t like their plans for a value-added tax, some people seem to think that I am politically opposed to Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. That’s not true. Both Senators are generally strong proponents of free markets and limited government, so the fact that they have one bad policy position shouldn’t a disqualifying characteristic. […]

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The Department of Agriculture Is a Welfare Scam

I may have to change my mind. When asked a few years ago to pick which department in Washington most deserved to be eliminated, I chose the Department of Housing and Urban Development. And HUD unquestionably is a cesspool of waste, so it certainly should be shuttered. But the more I read about the bizarre […]

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Support for ethanol losing steam

Early in his campaign, now top-tier Republican presidential candidate, Ben Carson, supported ethanol—a position for which I called him out. It has long been thought, that to win in Iowa, a candidate must support ethanol. However, in a major policy…

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Renewable Fuel Standards need reform… NOW!

The fact the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee is attacking the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) management—er, mismanagement—of the federal renewable fuel standard (RFS) is indicative of the growing frustration over both the agency and the RFS itself. At the June 18 hearing, EPA’s Acting Assistant Administrator, Janet McCabe was grilled by Senators from both sides of the aisle. Senator James Lankford (R-OK), who chaired the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, opened the hearing by calling the RFS “unworkable in its current form.” In her comments, Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) claimed that the EPA’s management of the RFS ignored “congressional intent,” while creating “uncertainty” and costing “investment.” The RFS has been under fire from all sides. It is the product of a different energy era—one in which presumed scarcity was the norm and reducing greenhouse gases was the concern. As a solution to both problems, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act in 2005, which established the first renewable-fuel volume mandate. Two years later, through the Energy Independence and Security Act, the RFS program was expanded, requiring 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel be blended into gasoline and diesel by 2022 (annual targets were outlined). The EPA website […]

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What happens if the environmentalists win?

In every war, there are winners and losers. Whether the war is ideological or physical, or even if a truce is declared—there are still battles that end in victory or defeat. In the United States, and most of the western world, there is an ideological war with dire physical consequences. It is the war on fossil fuels. But, even if you understand (as I hope my readers do) that energy is central to everything in modern society, the war is much bigger than energy. It is about freedom. It is about control. It is about global governance. In my book Energy Freedom, I make a case for why energy is so important and, therefore, why it is under attack. I posit: “What would the world be like if we could suddenly wave a magic wand and give the environmentalists everything they want?” I then detail how our lives would change and how it would not be the utopia one might first think. While we all know we can’t wave that magic wand, we are headed toward the same result. It is just happening a little at a time—one regulation after another, slowly, with some people, in the name of the […]

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An open letter to Dr. Ben Carson—and all presidential candidates—on energy policies

Dear Dr. Carson, Congratulations on your decision to run for President of the United States. I was at home writing at the time of your announcement. As a professional speaker and someone who has spent more than thirty years training speakers, I felt your presentation was stellar—especially considering that you delivered it without a note. I even posted the following on my Facebook page: “I have work to do but am captivated listening to Ben Carson”—which garnered many “likes” and favorable comments. I say that to emphasize that I like you. I am glad that you’ve joined the voices that will be utilizing the platforms afforded to them as candidates to educate the public as they expound on important issues facing America today. In fact, the libertarian leaning Reason Magazine applauded you for this exact reason: “To my happy surprise, he spent a good chunk of his announcement speech hinting at a Ross Perot-style crusade against the massive national debt and its drag on the economic growth.” Matt Welch, Reason’s editor in chief continues: “I would be happy if he made such talk the centerpiece of his campaign, particularly at a time when the new GOP congressional majority is already […]

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Environmentalists and energy advocates agree: Ethanol is a failure

We all expect to pay a price for missing deadlines—fail to pay a parking ticket on time, and you may find a warrant out for your arrest. People have lost their jobs when they can’t get the work done on schedule. Students, who turn in papers late, get lower grades—maybe even fail the class. But the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can apparently miss deadlines (many) with impunity. For the past two years, the EPA has failed to meet the statutory deadline under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), requiring the agency to tell refiners how much ethanol to blend into the nation’s motor fuels. In November 2013, the EPA did make an attempt to announce the proposed 2014 blend levels—which by then were already months past the legally mandated deadline. The EPA surprised and pleased the RFS opponents when it utilized its authority to adjust the mandate and took market conditions into consideration. The EPA set the proposed 2014 standard to a level lower than 2013’s, even though the law requires increasing amounts. Ethanol producers, who were expecting the usual uptick, loudly opposed the reduction. They made so much noise, the EPA agreed to reconsider. To date, the 2014 standards have […]

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Ethanol mandates go from bad to worse

President Obama, and his administration, has enacted so many foolish and cost-increasing energy policies, it is easy to think that they are his purview alone. But in 2007, Republicans were just as guilty. Seeds were planted and a garden of bad legislation took root in a totally different energy environment. At the time, the growth seemed like something worthy of cultivation. However, what sprouted up more closely resembles a weed that needs to be yanked out. Last week, I wrote about Australia’s carbon tax that was pulled on July 17. Its seeds were also planted in 2007, though not germinated until 2011. Prime Minister Abbott promised to eradicate the unpopular plant—and after nearly a year of struggle, he did. 2007 was also the year of the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). Around that time, more than half the states put in a mandate requiring increasing amounts of wind and solar power be incorporated into the energy mix the local utilities provided for their customers. It was expected that the RPS would become a much-admired garden with wind turbines blowing in the breeze and solar panels turning toward the sun like sunflowers. Instead, the RPS has been an expensive folly. Angering the […]

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Harry Reid strikes gold with green energy kickbacks

We are weeks away from being fully immersed in the 2014 election cycle. Predictions abound, likening the 2014 cycle to 2010—when the House flipped from Democratic to Republican. Only this time, it is the Senate that has the potential to change. Twenty of the 33 seats up in 2014 are currently held by Democrats—more than half of whom are in trouble. In 2010, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was up for reelection—for his fifth term—and he was facing “a ferocious challenge.” He was “in trouble.” Remember, 2010 was the year of Tea Party victory. In light of the mounting government debt, pork barrel spending was no longer vogue. But Senator Harry Reid, apparently, didn’t get the memo. “The 71-year-old one-time boxer touted his ability to bring federal money to his home state—no one could do more,” said the HuffPost coverage of his “surprise” win. A May 2010 internal email addressing the need to expedite Department of Energy (DOE) green-energy loan approvals for projects in Reid’s district says: “Reid is constantly hit at home for not bringing in the federal dollars.” In the email, reported Obama bundler and former Clinton Administration staffer, Jonathan Silver, who was, at the time, the executive […] . . . → Read More: Harry Reid strikes gold with green energy kickbacks . . . → Read More: Harry Reid strikes gold with green energy kickbacks

The Hammer of Reality and Green Energy

There’s been enough going on that I’ve kind of let energy slide lately. I shouldn’t, like all the other projects built on magic and wishful thinking, they are running into the hard wall of reality. Some would say they are getting hammered. I tend to think of the hammer of reality as Mjølner, the modern incarnation […] . . . → Read More: The Hammer of Reality and Green Energy . . . → Read More: The Hammer of Reality and Green Energy

Subsidizing green energy is like supporting operator-assisted telephones with party lines

The whole idea of green energy—renewable resources—grew out of an energy reality that was much different from today’s. It was in the 1970s, following the OPEC Oil Embargo that solar panels began popping up on rooftops and “gasohol” subsidies were enacted. It was believed that green energy would move the U.S. off of foreign oil and prevent oil from being used as an economic weapon against us. Today, that entire paradigm has been upended and OPEC’s power has been virtually neutered by increasing domestic oil production and decreasing gasoline consumption. Jay Lehr, Heartland Institute science director, likens continuing “as though our new energy riches did not exist” to “ignoring our telecommunication revolution by supporting operator-assisted telephones with party lines.” Instead of growing our gas, we need to be growing food that can feed a hungry world and balance out the U.S. trade deficit. In a November 17 editorial, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) perfectly sums up the current renewable resource status: “After 35 years of exaggerations about the benefits of renewable fuels, the industry has lost credibility.” Similarly, on the same day, the Washington Post (WP) went a step further, stating that ethanol “has been exposed as an environmental and […] . . . → Read More: Subsidizing green energy is like supporting operator-assisted telephones with party lines . . . → Read More: Subsidizing green energy is like supporting operator-assisted telephones with party lines

Obamacare and ethanol are bad for America – for many of the same reasons

Poll after poll shows that the majority of Americans have an unfavorable view of Obamacare. If it were front and center of the news cycle, as Obamacare is, most would also have the same repeal-or-revise attitude regarding ethanol mandates as the two are marching hand-in-hand. In addition to the odd collection of opponents—conservatives and unions in opposition to Obamacare; and environmentalists and big oil, auto manufacturers and anti-hunger groups oppose ethanol—there are numerous other similarities.  Sounds good at the start Healthcare for all sounds like a good idea, after all who wants to tell a mother holding a sick child that she can’t get care? Likewise, homegrown fuel that will increase America’s energy independence, sounds good—especially when the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was passed by Congress as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The RFS mandates a minimum volume of biofuels (generally corn-based ethanol) is to be used in the national transportation fuel supply each year. Two years later, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 greatly expanded the biofuel mandate volumes and extended the date through 2022. The expanded RFS required the annual use of 9 billion gallons of biofuels in 2008, rising to 36 billion gallons […] . . . → Read More: Obamacare and ethanol are bad for America – for many of the same reasons . . . → Read More: Obamacare and ethanol are bad for America – for many of the same reasons

Ethanol, high gas prices, and the dirty politics behind clean energy

Gas pump signage declaring “contains up to 10% ethanol” is so ubiquitous, most of us probably don’t even see it anymore—let alone think about why it is there, what it really means, or how it impacts the price of the gallon of gas being pumped. Despite its omnipresence, ethanol is suddenly center stage. On July 24, the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power concluded a two-day hearing: “Overview of the renewable fuel standard (RFS): Stakeholder perspectives.” Just the week before, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published an interesting opinion piece that pointed to ethanol as an environmental elixir, whose “abstract idealism” is trumped by “real-world concerns.” Apparently, in the “liberal bastion” known as Cambridge, MA, clean energy is praised as “one of our best solutions for moving beyond dirty fuel,” yet a proposal to expand a nearby ethanol facility that involved shipping ethanol by train through Cambridge has been met with almost universal political opposition—not in my backyard. The day after the House hearing, ethanol was in the news once again for a totally different reason: “Ethanol spills from derailed train near port of Tampa in Florida.” 35,000 gallons of ethanol were being transported by train from Chicago to the […] . . . → Read More: Ethanol, high gas prices, and the dirty politics behind clean energy . . . → Read More: Ethanol, high gas prices, and the dirty politics behind clean energy