Corn-based ethanol fuel won't solve our energy problems

September 09, 2012

My recent letter of questioning the use of corn to produce ethanol prompted the expected rebuttal from the Renewable Fuels Association ("U.S. must abandon corn-based ethanol," Aug. 28).

That, however, doesn't change the fact that corn ethanol only survives because of an Environmental Protection Agency mandate to boost American corn ethanol production through subsidies, tax credits and import duties on sugar cane-based ethanol from Brazil.

Ranchers in the U.S. are slaughtering cattle at record rates because of corn shortages that have resulted from the drought and from ethanol production. Several states have asked for EPA waivers to produce more animal feed and less ethanol.

Meanwhile, the World Trade Organization, the World Bank and others have jointly recommended that countries drop policies that mandate ethanol production from corn.

It has been estimated that some 30,000 children around the world die every day from starvation or diseases induced by malnutrition. Yet more than 40 percent of our corn crop goes to produce ethanol for fuel. What is wrong with this picture?

Charles Campbell, Woodstock

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