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Agricultural News

Biased House Hearing Leaves Growth Energy with Questions and Doubts

Wed, 02 Nov 2011 14:04:23 CDT

Biased House Hearing Leaves Growth Energy with Questions and Doubts Noting the absence of a witness to testify on behalf of America's ethanol supporters, Growth Energy dismissed the "chorus of critics" who used today's House Science Subcommittee hearing to protect their own special interests, specifically Big Oil's grip over the American motor fuels market.

"The House Science Subcommittee has waved the chorus of critics on to center stage, holding two hearings on ethanol-related issues without hearing testimony from the ethanol industry. We need serious discussion about a national energy policy, including domestically-produced alternatives like ethanol and next-generation biofuels," said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. "Instead, we are seeing special favors tossed like candy to Big Oil, which doesn't need any more sweeteners considering the billions in taxpayer giveaways they're already getting. The Subcommittee is looking for another excuse to kick the can down the road instead of cutting our dependence on foreign oil."

To set the record straight, Growth Energy issued the following points:

The National Academy of Sciences study, which undermines cellulosic ethanol's viability, has been refuted by its own authors. Both Virginia Dale, ecologist at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, and a principal author of the NAS study, and Prof. Robert C. Brown, an Iowa State University professor whose data was used as the basis for the NAS report, have said the report's conclusions are faulty.

-Brown published an op-ed in the Des Moines Register, Report is too quick to write off biofuels.

-Dale was featured in a Science Magazine article about the study, Panel Doubts U.S. Biofuels Goals Will Be Reached.   

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved E15 for automobiles and light trucks built in the last decade. Attacks on E15's use of outboard engines are misplaced; E15's use in outboard engines was not approved for use in two-stroke engines as part of the EPA's decision to approve the waiver for vehicles built since 2001. Most marine-engine manufacturers specifically state in their owners' manuals that E10 is suitable fuel in a properly-maintained engine. And E15 use is voluntary, not mandatory.

-Source: EPA Announces E15 Partial Waiver Decision.

The oil industry enjoys more than a century of control over infrastructure to exert monopoly control over the market depriving consumers of a choice at the pump, and eliminating competition. Third-party groups have identified more than $100 billion in subsidies, tax credits and giveaways to Big Oil over the next 10 years; a peer-reviewed study published by Princeton University researcher Roger Stern found taxpayers have borne a $7.3 trillion cost for defending access to Middle East oil reserves since 1978.

-Source: U.S. Cost of Military Force Projection in the Persian Gulf, 1976 2007

Ethanol from cellulosic biomass and grain is still cleaner than conventional gasoline, and getting cleaner even as new sources of fossil fuels whether oil from tar sands or oil extracted by hydraulic fracture are being called into question for increasing emissions. Yale's Journal of Industrial Ecology published the landmark Life Cycle Analysis on grain and cellulosic ethanol emissions compared to conventional gasoline refined from oil, and found reductions of more than 67 percent in modern ethanol plants.

-Source: Improvements in Life Cycle Energy Efficiency and Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Corn-Ethanol



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