They call them U-boats because they pull into a port just long enough to do a U-turn and head off to Europe. They stop just long enough to blend a touch of fuel into the tank so they can claim the government subsidy. Let’s say you have a million gallons on board from, say, a palm oil plantation in Indonesia, or a soybean operation in South America. An hour or two after your arrival, your pockets are bulging with just short of a million U.S. taxpayer dollars. From the Guardian:

… the European Biodiesel Board, has uncovered the trade as part of its investigation into why British, German, and Spanish producers are in financial trouble at a time when biodiesel prices remain high. The board will call for retaliatory action against the U.S. over subsidies for its leading biofuel.

“[P]eople are bringing boats of soy or palm-based biodiesel from Europe and then mixing it with a bit of local biodiesel — or even fossil-fuel diesel — and then shipping it back,” [biofuel consultant Ian Waller] said.

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This is perfectly legal and has been going on for years now. Our politicians are apparently cool with it because it lines the pockets of their campaign fund supporters (primarily the ag lobby). Some U.S. biofuel company is getting a big return on investment every time it happens. The American public is cool with it because we are unwitting idiots.

However, the European politicians are not cool with it because it is bankrupting their own biodiesel industry. On the other hand, that is an industry that should go bankrupt, so I’m cool with it.

It will soon be illegal in Europe not to blend at least 2.5 percent biodiesel into fuel supplies. Failing to do so will land you in hot water with law enforcement. Incompetent politicians the world over lead us forward backwards in our battle to save the planet by forcing consumers to use a fuel shown by multiple peer-reviewed scinetific studies to be worse for global warming than the fossil fuel it replaces. Food prices are at record highs and the number of people starving, held at bay for decades, has begun to climb toward a billion again. The biodiversity crisis is worse than ever as forests fall under pressure for more cropland.

“My children ask for food, and how can I not feed them? They ask for some eggs, beans, and I give it to them,” said Maria De Las Mercedes Ramirez, a 41-year-old mother of five. “I, as the mother, will eat less.”

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What Ramirez spends on corn has shot up more than 50 percent in the last few months, cooking oil is up 75 percent, and beans have doubled in price.

“You can see a lot of concern in their faces when they come to pick up their kids,” principal Delsy Amilia Chavez said of the mothers. “And some of the mothers are anemic. They can’t afford to eat beans and aren’t getting the iron they need.”

Lord help them.

(Hat tip to KO.)

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