Battle-corn: A tank prepares to refill on cheap biofuels. Opponents of using food for fuel, I’ve got good news and bad news. First the good: It appears that Congress is finally willing to kill two of the ethanol industry’s main government supports — the 45-cent-per-gallon ethanol tax credit worth about $6 billion per year, and the 54-cent-per-gallon tariff on Brazilian ethanol.

Now the bad: The Obama administration (which has been as aggressive an advocate for ethanol as any corn-state Senator) isn’t going to let the ethanol industry down — even if it means using federal dollars to ensure that 40 percent of U.S. corn keeps going into American gas tanks. The administration’s commitment comes despite the fact that so-called “second generation” biofuels — i.e. the kind that don’t require corn as the feedstock — remain forever “around the corner” (as this recent Reuters investigation documented).

In fact, the administration has come up with a new ethanol program, and this time it may have an argument that will make the effort bulletproof: Ethanol is now a matter of “national security.”

The USDA, the Department of Energy and the Navy announced an agreement to spend $510 million to, as the White House blog put it, “construct or retrofit advanced biofuel plants to produce drop-in aviation and marine biofuels that will power our military’s ships and aircraft and our commercial transportation fleet.”

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The administration even trotted out Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to declare, “having energy independence for the United States is one of the most important things we can do from a military standpoint.”

What patriotic American is going to disagree with the Secretary of the Navy?

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What’s frustrating isn’t that the government is investing in alternative liquid fuels. It’s that, national security be damned, we’re barking up the wrong energy tree: All the data point to ethanol being a climate dead end. And it’s a dead end that’s eating our food. Yet the government finds ways to keep the money flowing towards ethanol. It’s truly the boondoggle that just won’t die.