The devastating Midwest floods are creating waves of economic pain with crops ruined, corn prices pushed to record levels and a damper put on expansion of the ethanol industry.May I be only the most recent in a long line of people to say
Development of ethanol refineries - seen by some people as an economic development panacea in rural communities - has been suspended at a dozen plants around the country, a trade group said Monday. High corn prices, and now questionable supplies, have made the ethanol business less attractive.
This is a small taste of what could happen if we go too far down the ethanol path. Forget for the moment about the inflation this nonsense is causing. Forget, even, the drop in global food supply we've seen due to the diversion of corn to the gasoline industry. If we become even a bit dependent on corn for transportation, we stand to suffer economic chaos every time there's a lean yield: and with pronounced climate change becoming more and more likely, the odds the our corn yield will be affected increase considerably.
Why don't we take the damned ethanol subsidies and put them into research for better sources, like grasses, waste streams, and bacterial production? The oil isn't getting cheaper, but that supply is at least steady. Short term, become less energy dependent. Middle and long term, find stable sources of energy. Then we can tell the middle east to go jump off an Allah-be-praised cliff.