In honor of April Fuels’ Day, National Corn Growers Association CEO Chris Novak and Renewable Fuels Association CEO Bob Dinneen penned the following letter to Congress about the dangers of America’s growing dependence on renewable fuels from the troubled Midwest region.
Dear Members of Congress:
In recent years, Americans have become increasingly reliant on renewable fuels produced in agricultural states in the Midwest.
Some argue that greater use of renewable fuels like ethanol is a good idea merely because it costs 60-80 cents less per gallon than regular gasoline, offers higher octane and better engine performance, has fewer toxic emissions, and creates hundreds of thousands of American jobs. Sure, but what about the national security implications?
The fact is, the Midwest is a virtual tinderbox of conflicting allegiances.
The region is deeply divided, with factions loyal to the Packers, Bears, Vikings, Lions and Colts frequently at odds with one another. (Some analysts have questioned whether the Vikings are too weak to pose a serious threat to their neighbors, but Teddy Bridgewater had decent numbers last year).
Any resolution to the argument about “Duck, Duck, Goose” has proved elusive, with intransigent Minnesotans continuing to insist upon “Duck, Duck, Gray Duck” – a stance that has isolated the regime against the rest of the country. Tragically, these disputes often divide members of the same family who have lived for many years in a neighboring state … pitting brother against brother, cousin against cousin, Swede against Swede, at many a family picnic. Even the individual states themselves are not unified, including the intractable Cardinals vs. Royals divide and decades old disputes in Wisconsin between the dominant “drinking fountain” faction and the smaller but fervent “bubbler” faction. Then there is the whole “hotdish” vs. “casserole” question.
What would happen if, for example, Minnesota were to invade northern Iowa, seizing key ethanol refineries along the border and demanding the Iowa legislature pass a resolution declaring “Duck, Duck Gray Duck” the official waterfowl game of the Hawkeye State? The nation might have to learn to do without cleaner, less expensive, less toxic, higher performance fuel.
We are not alone in warning against dependence on renewable fuels such as ethanol. In fact, oil industry leaders have been sounding the alarm bells for years as these homegrown, renewable fuels have risen to 10% of the nation’s fuel supply. This, in turn, has contributed to the lowest oil imports in decades – with Exxon Mobil’s profits plummeting to a mere $32.5 billion last year.
Fortunately, there is an alternative to Midwestern renewable fuel – we can simply import more foreign oil from countries such as Iraq, Russia, Libya and Venezuela. Seriously, what could go wrong?
The most urgent thing Congress could do to curtail our dangerous reliance on renewable fuels would be to repeal or “reform” the Renewable Fuel Standard. Doing so would result in an immediate increase in foreign oil imports and strengthen champions of democracy such as Vladimir Putin. As a side benefit, the move would also be a devastating blow to advanced biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol. Sure, it would drive billions of dollars in investment in these technologies to China and Brazil. That would be a shame – if all you care about is money and jobs and clean air and lower gasoline prices. Don’t be so shortsighted.
It’s not too late to choose Mideastern oil over Midwestern ethanol. The time has come for more foreign oil and less renewable fuel.
CEO of the National Corn Growers Association and longtime Midwesterner
President & CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association and Member of the “Bubbler” Clan
Just call them a couple of renewable fools!