Energy politics take a weird turn
Now, politics makes strange bedfellows, and sudden Republican opposition to biofuels stems largely from meat-industry shrieks about high grain prices. For example, Texas Gov. Rick Perry — who learned crony capitalism at the knee of his mentor, G.W. Bush — only found anti-ethanol religion after a bit of slap-and-tickle with his dear friend, the CEO of poultry giant Pilgrims Pride.
However, the biofuel mandate is egregious. There are better ways to stick it to Big Meat than devoting millions of acres of prime farmland, and dousing them with fertilizers and pesticides, to grow crops destined to feed cars. If left alone, within a few years, the mandate will divert about half of the annual U.S. corn crop into our gas tanks, likely wreaking yet more havoc on food prices, increasing pressure on rainforests (since more corn here means more soy in places like Brazil), and unleashing an accelerating gusher of agrichemicals and GMO seeds on farmland worldwide.
Now, the Republicans’ zeal to "drill now" is of course insane and makes their overall energy policy a farce, but on the narrow point of ethanol, they shame the Democrats. I hope the Senator from Illinois, a major corn-producing state, can shake off his reflexive pro-ethanol stance and match the GOP on this one.