Refuting a Misleading NYT Article

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The following was published in the Opinion Pages of the New York Times for July 3rd, 2011, in a section entitled, Is Ethanol a Solution, or a Problem?

Corn pouring into ethanol facility
to be crushed and fermented.
To the editor: In “The Great Corn Con” (Op-Ed, June 25), Steven Rattner claims that United States ethanol production makes food costlier and scarcer, pollutes the environment and drains the treasury. That is not the case.

While producing 13 billion gallons of ethanol last year, the American biofuels industry also generated 32.5 million metric tons of feed for cattle, pigs and poultry.

Mr. Rattner claims that ethanol “consumes vast quantities of water and increases smog.” In fact, using ethanol in gasoline has reduced smog-forming emissions by 25 percent since 1990 and results in a 48 to 59 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared with gasoline, according to a recent study.

Moreover, ethanol yields between 1.9 and 2.3 times as much energy as it takes to produce, and producing a gallon of ethanol requires about as much water as producing a gallon of gasoline.

In farming communities and factory towns far from Wall Street, the American ethanol industry supports some 400,000 jobs, contributes $53.6 billion to the gross domestic product, and pays $15 billion annually in federal and state taxes, far surpassing the cost of federal tax incentives for ethanol. Meanwhile, according to the Government Accountability Office, the oil industry has received over $130 billion in tax incentives over the past 30 years.

The United States ethanol industry is eager to discuss how to develop, produce and market the next generation of biofuels, made from plant and wood wastes and even municipal garbage.

BOB DINNEEN
Washington, June 27, 2011

The writer is president and chief executive of the Renewable Fuels Association, the trade association of the United States ethanol industry.

Read more about the "food versus fuel" debate: Ethanol and World Hunger.

Read more about the subsidies: How Taxpayers Subsidize the Oil and Ethanol Industries.

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