Candidates for an open U.S. Senate seat in Nebraska faced off at the state fair in Lincoln this weekend and ethanol was a topic of debate.
Republican Mike Johanns, Democrat Scott Kleeb and Green Party candidate Steve Larrick all discussed the important issues of energy, climate change and renewable fuels – although most of the sparks flew between Johanns and Kleeb.
Former Nebraska governor Johanns, who resigned as US Secretary of Agriculture last year to run for the Senate seat being vacated by Republican Chuck Hagel, accused Kleeb of being quoted as saying that “corn based ethanol will not be a part of our future.” Johanns noted that new breakthroughs in corn genetics will soon bring a 40 percent increase in the yield of dryland corn, making corn-based ethanol even more viable.
Kleeb claimed he was misquoted and has “always been a supporter of ethanol.” However, he believes the country also needs to develop other “green” energy solutions, such as solar, wind and other technologies such as cellulosic ethanol production.
The biggest clash between the two came over the proposed Warner-Lieberman Climate Security Act, which Johanns opposes and Kleeb supports.