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

Just Posted

San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler, pictured in July at Oracle Park, says team members simultaneously can be “measured and calm” and “looking to push the accelerator.” (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
How Gabe Kapler sets the tone for Giants’ success with strategy, mindset

‘There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s the hands-down manager of the year’

Artist Agnieszka Pilat, pictured with Spot the Robot Dog from Boston Robotics, has a gallery show opening at Modernism. (Courtesy Agnieszka Pilat)
Screenshots of VCs, Kanye and tech parties by the Bay

In this week’s roundup, Ben Horowitz’s surprising hip-hop knowledge and the chic tech crowd at Shack15

If he secured a full term in the Senate, Newsom would become the most powerful Californian Democrat since Phil Burton at the height of his career, or maybe ever. <ins>(Kevin Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Firefighters extinguish burning material near Lake Tahoe on Sept. 3 in the wake of the Caldor Fire; environmental scientists say the huge fire is bringing to light deficiencies in forest management. <ins>(Max Whittaker/New York Times)</ins>
Cal Fire, timber industry must face an inconvenient truth

We are logging further into the wildfire and climate crisis

Speaker of the Parliament of Mongolia Gombojav Zandanshatar said his country and San Francisco face similar challenges on issues including COVID recovery and climate change.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Mongolian leaders meet with tech, film leaders on city tour

‘I really want San Franciscans to meet the new Mongolian generation’

Most Read