While the price of gasoline has dropped precipitously since the summer, the memory of $3.80 - $4.00/gallon of gasoline is still fresh in the minds of most Americans. In fact, gasoline is at its lowest price in almost 10 years; however, the American population is still looking to President-elect Obama to develop a comprehensive program to bring about energy independence while simultaneously developing jobs and being a good steward of the planet. As part of his energy independence platform, President-elect Obama has called for dramatically increasing corn-based ethanol production.
[...] Realizing how challenging the corn ethanol debate is, consider that this is and will be only one component of a much larger energy policy. When President-elect Obama's administration and Congress work to develop a new energy regime, they will also need to address controversial issues such as coal power, liquification of coal, clean natural gas, and nuclear power. The debates on each of these energy sources will be just as intense, if not more so, as the debate on ethanol. [...]
[...] Huckabee, Obama have huge night in CNN.com January 2008, www.cnn.com. Larry Rohter, “Obama Camp Closely Linked to Ethanol,” New York Times June 2008, www.nytimes.com. Center for Responsive Politics www.opensecrets.org Ibid. Ibid. Senator Charles Grassley is a supporter of the GMA message, yet comes from an ethanol-producing state. Statement Regarding Consumer Price Index Data for March Grocery Manufacturers Association, http://www.gmabrands.com/news/docs/NewsRelease.cfm?DocID=1829. Aditya Chakrabortty, “Secret report: biofuel caused food crisis,” The Guardian, July http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/jul/03/biofuels.renewableenergy. “Issue Brief: Economic Impacts of Ethanol Production Edition,” American Coalition for [...]
[...] It will satisfy the organizations and political action committees that donated to politicians in return for support for ethanol projects; however, these organizations and their members must be made to understand that corn-based ethanol is only a near- term solution and is not designed to be a pillar of long-term clean energy and energy independence. The federal government must demonstrate to the American people that it is going to put the country on the path to change our energy sources, the environment, and to re-instill a faith in the American people that government is not beholden to corporate American and lobbying firms. [...]
[...] Since most corn production in the United States is conducted in and around the Mississippi River and its tributaries, this poses a potential risk to not only the immediate farm area, but areas downriver as well. According to University of British Columbia research Simon Donner, U.S. government's rush to produce corn-based ethanol as a fuel alternative will worsen pollution in the Gulf of Mexico, increasing a ‘Dead Zone' that kills fish and aquatic life Additionally, “Although ethanol is likely to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, it may not decrease overall greenhouse gas emissions. [...]
[...] However, this paper is only attempting to provide an overview of the various competing arguments in the corn ethanol debate. The competing economic information above raises some fundamental questions about the development of the corn ethanol industry. Is the subsidized growth of the corn ethanol industry a positive influence in the economy or are the subsidies and the cost to government (both federal and state) and taxpayers too great? Does the future of corn ethanol warrant government protection and funding for an industry still in its relative infancy or would the taxpayers and country benefit more from investment in other forms of alternative transportation fuel such as cellulose ethanol? [...]
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