It's been a familiar few weeks for biofuels.
First, chain restaurants and chicken producers blamed ethanol for raising food prices. Then, the federal government's Environmental Protection Agency caved to the oil industry in proposing weak requirements for the amount of biofuels to be included in the fuel supply.
Those of us from states that produce ethanol and biodiesel are used to the attacks. We always fight back, and producers continue to do their best to develop the next generation of clean biofuels.
Consumers like biofuels. The idea of a homegrown product that reduces emissions harmful to the environment and brings the U.S. freedom from volatile oil-producing countries is appealing.
The EPA should know this. Instead, the agency continues to buy into Big Oil's argument that the infrastructure isn't in place to handle the fuel volumes required by law. Big Oil's obstruction and the EPA's delays and indecision have harmed biofuel producers and delayed infrastructure developments. While I support the Agriculture Department's efforts to promote alternative fuel infrastructure, if the program were allowed to function as intended, private investments already would have been made.
What happened to the president who claimed to support biofuels? He seems to have disappeared, to the detriment of consumers and our country's fuel needs.
Meanwhile, an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal ("Paying for Ethanol at the Pump and on the Plate," May 15), gave me an overwhelming sense of dejà vu. Once again, the food industry is teaming up with Big Oil to smear homegrown biofuels producers at the expense of energy independence and cleaner air. This time, it's the chicken producers and chain restaurants making many of the same erroneous, intellectually dishonest claims we've heard before.