The ethanol industry wasted no time fighting back today against another attack by the food industry to blame higher prices on ethanol production.
The newly-formed Growth Energy called on the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) to “discontinue its deceptive attacks on the government’s investment in ethanol and other renewable fuels.” Growth Energy held a press conference shortly after the group “Food Before Fuel,” which is back by GMA, held a press conference calling for an end to all ethanol “subsidies.”
Growth Energy members in turn pointed out that the food companies themselves have been the beneficiary of subsidies, such as the $55 billion being spent this year on federal food assistance programs. “The federal government has an important role in supporting programs that promote the common good,” said Dave Vander Griend, President & CEO of ICM, Inc. and board member of Growth Energy. “Whether by funding anti-poverty programs like food stamps or championing renewable energy that will jumpstart our green economy and create jobs, we believe that it is good public policy to make smart investments for our nation’s future.”
The “Food Before Fuel” group called the press conference today as the “30th anniversary of ethanol subsidies” and referred to ethanol as “30-year-old under employed child” living in our basement. During the Cellulosic Ethanol Summit in Florida, Renewable Fuels Association president Bob Dinneen said, “It’s a cute analogy but the problem is there’s somebody else living in that house and it’s the 120-year-old oil industry that continues to be subsidized,” as well as other energy industries. “There is not a single energy market today that is not heavily subsidized by the government because energy is so darn important to every nation’s economy.”
The National Corn Growers Association was outraged by the attack, which was focused only on corn ethanol. “These same ethanol critics are the ones who virtually promised to reduce food prices immediately, and have failed to do so, even though corn prices and energy prices are down by more than half in the last few weeks,” National Corn Growers Association president Bob Dickey said.