The ethanol lobby wins

Read today's editorial on ethanol in the Wall Street Journal. Here's the heart of it:

the EPA lifted the cap on how much ethanol is allowed to be mixed into gasoline to meet the annual consumption mandates in the 2007 energy bill, which will rise to 36 billion gallons by 2022. Until last week, this per-gallon “blend wall” stood at 10%, because ethanol is highly corrosive and can damage engines and exhaust systems and impair other features. The practical problem with this industrial planning is that Americans don't use enough gas to meet the mandates.

So the EPA decided that more ethanol should be mixed with less gas, lifting the cap to 15% for model years 2007 and later, or about one out of seven cars and light trucks currently on the road. The decision came in the nick of time for the ethanol industry, which is at market saturation and producing a glut that the government is not requiring anyone to buy. “We have lots of gallons of ethanol chasing too few gallons of gasoline,” Renewable Fuels Association president Bob Dinneen told the New York Times in May.

In this context, it's worth recalling the size and reach of the ethanol lobby, about which I wrote earlier this year:

For instance, there's Growth Energy, a new ethanol lobby group co-chaired by former Democratic presidential candidate and Obama donor Wesley Clark. The company's chief executive officer is lobbyist Tom Buis, formerly the top agricultural policy aide to Obama confidant Tom Daschle.

 

Former Rep. Jim Nussle, R-Iowa, sits on Growth Energy's board, while his former chief of staff, Christopher Bliley — also a former associate administrator at the EPA — lobbies for the group. Growth Energy's top K Street asset, however, is Kountoupes Consulting.

 

The firm's three Democratic lobbyists have already given a combined $64,000 to Democrats this cycle, while Republican lobbyist Julie Hershey Carr has given more than $11,000 to GOP candidates and committees since the 2008 election.

 

Across the ethanol industry, lobbying is picking up. The BlueFire Ethanol corporation last month hired K Street's Bracewell and Giuliani, including lobbyist Edward Krenik, an associate EPA administrator under Bush and a former hill staffer for Sen. David Durenberger, R-Minn., a close ally of the original ethanol giant, Archer Daniels Midland.

Then ask yourself if you're confident the administration made this decision based on science, or on politics.

Beltway ConfidentialUS

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

After the pandemic hit, Twin Peaks Boulevard was closed to vehicle traffic, a situation lauded by open space advocates. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
New proposal to partially reopen Twin Peaks to vehicles pleases no one

Neighbors say closure brought crime into residential streets, while advocates seek more open space

Protesters rally at the site of a proposed affordable housing project at 2550 Irving St. in the Sunset District on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. (Ming Vong/S.F. Examiner)
Sunset District affordable housing discussion flooded with ‘scare tactics and hysteria’

Project would provide 100 units, some of which would be designated for formerly homeless families

Members of the Sheriff’s Department command staff wore masks at a swearing-in ceremony for Assistant Sheriff Tanzanika Carter. One attendee later tested positive. 
Courtesy SFSD
Sheriff sees increase in COVID-19 cases as 3 captains test positive

Command staff among 10 infected members in past week

Rainy weather is expected in the coming week. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Rainstorms, potential atmospheric river expected to drench Bay Area in coming week

By Eli Walsh Bay City News Foundation Multiple rainstorms, cold temperatures some… Continue reading

U.S. Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman’s powerful reading was among the highlights of Inauguration Day. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Inauguration shines light in this never-ending shade

Here’s to renewal and resolve in 2021 and beyond

Most Read