“I really would like to vote for this bill because we desperately need an energy bill. The world and particularly the United States faces a real challenge on energy in the future. But I cannot vote for this bill primarily because of the corn ethanol mandate. A recent article in The Economist noted that our use of corn for ethanol doubled the price of corn about a year ago. Farmers then moved lands from soybeans and what would have been in soybeans and wheat to corn. We now have further increased the cost of corn and we’ve increased the cost of soybeans and wheat the world around. And one of the members of the United Nations says what we’ve done is a crime against humanity. The effect we’ve had on gasoline use has been absolutely trifling. The National Academy of Sciences says that if we converted all of our corn, all of our corn, to ethanol and discounted for fossil fuel input it would displace 2.4% of our gasoline. Mr. Chairman, this really represents one of those times as the old farmer says that ‘the juice ain’t worth the squeezing.’ We can do better.”
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David Roberts is a staff writer for Grist. You can follow his Twitter feed at twitter.com/drgrist.