The Wall Street Journal published a letter to the editor this week from U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer that defends ethanol and the nation’s biofuels policies.
Schafer wrote the letter mainly in response to an op-ed by Texas Governor Rick Perry that appeared in the paper after EPA’s recent decision to deny his request to waive the Renewable Fuels Standard.
This decision has recently generated some critical commentary in your pages. I, however, support and applaud the EPA’s decision. Renewable energy is a tremendous American success story. We are the world leader in biofuels. Since 2000, U.S. ethanol production has quadrupled. Biodiesel production soared from two million gallons to 450 million last year. Cellulosic ethanol, which will derive fuel from non-food feedstocks, is moving into production.
Schafer also noted that the rising cost of food in recent months is due to a number of factors, including higher oil prices. “…the sharp rise in global grain prices in recent years is driven primarily by soaring energy costs, improved diets in rapidly developing nations, two years of bad weather in some countries, and new export restrictions in several nations. U.S. biofuels production contributed only an estimated 0.2%-0.6% to the 5.1% rise in U.S. consumer food costs.”