Skip to comments.Kennedy Links World Food Shortages to U.S. Ethanol Policy
Posted on 05/01/2008 2:14:41 PM PDT by PROCON
On the Spot. (CNSNews.com) - Senators Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) told Cybercast News Service on Wednesday that they believe there is a connection between federally mandated consumption of ethanol, a gasoline additive made from corn, and world food shortages.
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 mandates that increasing amounts of ethanol be used in the United States to dilute gasoline. The law called for 4 billion gallons of ethanol to be used in 2006, 6.1 billion gallons in 2009, and 7.5 billion gallons by 2012.
As the demand for corn has increased because of increased ethanol consumption, the Washington Post reported this week, the number of acres used to grow wheat in the U.S. has contracted, contributing to a shortage of wheat on the world market and an overall increase in world grain prices.
"I think very definitely there is a clear connection between our ethanol use and world hunger," Kennedy told Cybercast News Service . "The connection is becoming more evident and understood more every day by the American people. And they understand that there is very little that's being done to address the problem."
Lieberman, who chairs the Homeland Security Committee, told Cybercast News Service that he is going to hold a hearing on the topic on May 7. "I am very concerned about this issue," said Lieberman. "There are a lot of serious questions that have been raised."
When Cybercast News Service asked Lieberman if he thinks federal laws that mandate escalating domestic ethanol consumption ought to be repealed, he said such a solution ought to be considered.
"I think that that may need to be reflected as part of the solution to the problem," he said.
Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) expressed a different view.
"I don't see the link between hunger and our requirements that ethanol be mixed into our gasoline," Craig told Cybercast News Service . "We are still exporting food to the world. The world hunger movement is also tied to the environmental movement. Environmentalists have decided that ethanol is bad and so liberals are arguing that it's connected with food and therefore it is all bad. There has to be a balance."
"Ethanol today has brought the price of gas down by 20 cents," Craig said. "American consumers may be paying a little more for food but they are also paying a little less for gas because of ethanol in the market. It's a worthwhile trade. The market is a little distorted at the moment. Let's lower the subsidy on ethanol, and let the market stabilize, but our country is better off today because we are producing ethanol."
You’re right. If corn for ethanol is fetching top dollar than more farmers will plant corn. There’ll be fewer acres of wheat and sweet corn and feed corn. The cost of corn based foods will rise. The costs of corn fed livestock will rise and the costs of displaced food crops, like wheat, are going to rise too. All to produce an inefficient, costly and unnecessary government mandated fuel additive.
“Oh - the guys a dem, never mind.”
Nope, he’s an R who likes a little airport bathroom fun.
WTH? Must be raising the price of his malt supply
At a level insufficient to meet rising demand.
Yet the more we export the more there is a worldwide food shortage caused by the USA using ethanol.
Ethanol mandates and ethanol subsidies induce wheat farmers to switch to corn and attract corn from food use to fuel use.
I'm confused. How can corn ethanol bring down the price of gas when it has a lower energy value than the gas it replaces AND costs more per energy unit to produce than the fuel it takes to produce it?
Somebody hep me.
I don’t blame farmers one bit for wanting the most for their product but during the hearing the farmer’s union rep said he wanted the oil companies to not get anymore subsidies. I couldn’t help to think that maybe the farmers also shouldn’t get anymore subsidies since they have chosen to get in the energy business the same way the oil companies are.
“Yet the more we export the more there is a worldwide food shortage caused by the USA using ethanol. Does that make sense?’
Yep, the shortage isn’t from lack of commodities but the PRICE of said commodities are out of range for a growing number of the world’s population.
...and besides that...bring back MTBE! MTBE in the groundwater was a technical issue that could have been solved without the corn ethanol fiasco.
Oh man! Sorry.
Maybe he’s just in it for all the extra corn cobs. Lots easier than potatoes I would imagine (being from Idaho and all).
Did he explain why he voted as he did in 1994?
Did he apologize for that vote? And admit that he (and Algore and the then-Democrat Congress) might've made a mistake?
I though not. Senators and Congressmen are NEVER accountable.
Once Bush made the statement the other day that he supports this policy it was DOA!
MTBE problems were caused by failure of regulations but instead of fixing the problem and punishing the violators they just changed the whole system.
That's a joke, for all of you, you are a socialists types.
A MOMENT OF CLARITY
Yep. Our government has us in a catch 22 and no matter which way we turn there’s no helping or fixing the problems.
Since they haven't done it and are only talking about it, I would say the facts are yet to be proved. Could just be more pie in the sky.
If ethanol is a good idea, then end the federal subsidies and regulations and let the market drive it. Personally, I think it’s a terrible idea, but if the known problems can be solved in a way that it actually contributes to lower costs, better energy efficiency, and longer engine life, then the market will ensure its continued use. As I said, I doubt whether any of these problems can be easily resolved.
As it stands now, it drives up the cost of food, takes more energy to produce than it gives back, decreases the life of engines, and unless properly produced undermines the fertility of agricultural land and the variety of species in the southern hemisphere.
It’s significant that Kennedy has now jumped in on the other side.
I think come November the whole Congress is going to find out just what Americans think.
Once they can’t take a summer vacation because they can’t buy the gasoline, and food is too expensive to eat.
See post 21 - It says exactly what I would say. I’d add that increased fertilizer runoff and corn’s extraordinary thirst for water (The Ogalalla Aquifer is running on empty) makes Corn Ethanol much, much worse than the ‘Problem’ it is designed to address.
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