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Biofuels and Bad Weather

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Publication Date: June 2008

Publisher(s): Environmental Working Group

Author(s): Michelle R. Perez

Topic: Energy (Fuels)

Keywords: corn; biofuels; farm subsidies

Type: Report

Abstract:

When the Bush administration and Congress required gasoline refiners to blend in 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol by 2015, they made the impossibly rosy assumption that American farmers would always enjoy good weather. But as every farmer knows, years with perfect growing conditions are uncommon and getting more rare.

In early April, Environmental Working Group Founder Ken Cook warned that the government’s food policy amounted to “hope for good weather.” However, hope is not a policy. And it now seems likely that some of the worst weather since the historic 1993 floods will mar the 2008 growing season. With the potential for widespread corn production loss due to this spring’s prolonged cold, heavy rains and flooding in the Corn Belt, and with crop and food prices soaring to new records almost every week, the disastrous cost of Washington’s lack of commonsense is apparent.