Green Scissors 2010 Calls for Cut in Wasteful Spending

Joanna Schroeder

At the helm of Friends of the Earth, a new report was released today highlighting government programs and subsidies that are wasteful to taxpayers, harmful to the environment and bad for consumers. The Green Scissors 2010 report targeted four major areas for budget cuts including energy, agriculture and biofuels, infrastructure, and public lands.

Many of the recommendations of this report come as no surprise to the agricultural and biofuels industry, as over the past two weeks, members of Friends of the Earth surreptitiously called agricultural organizations across the country, questioning them about their methods of production.

According to an industry insider whose company received multiple calls from various people in the employ of Friends of the Earth, the organization was asking questions about ground water quality (ag production, mainly corn and soybeans have been linked to the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone) and hypoxia; two issues that have made national headlines in recent weeks. It is also no secret that Friends of the Earth has engaged in an active anti-agribusiness and biofuels campaign over the past few years, and the environmental organization has been tied to Big Oil through contribution monies.

It should be known that, Friends of the Earth, along with the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and the Clean Air Task Force are currently engaged in a campaign to end the ethanol tax credit (VEETC) as well as the ethanol tariff. They have specifically attacked Growth Energy’s corn-ethanol advertising campaign in the Beltway.

They write on their website, “Tens of billions of dollars of taxpayer money has already been wasted under the credit [VEETC]. And these funds do little more than to further line the coffers of the oil industry. This coalition is working to prevent an additional 30 billion plus dollars from being lavished on the industry to fulfill a legally mandated requirement to blend an environmentally harmful fuel into another environmentally harmful one.”

In a press release today, Friends of the Earth Energy Tax Analyst Ben Schreiber said, “For far too long, the federal government has incentivized practices that destroy our environment. This is particularly true with energy. In the fight to combat global warming, we cannot continue to subsidize the harmful practices that have forced us into this dire predicament.”

However, as Friends of The Earth, along with their ‘friends,’ attack Big Oil subsidies and ethanol subsidies alike, citing the economic and environmental damage of both industries, they fail to offer a solution in the report to convert away from our current fossil-fuel based transportation system, but they do in fact have the solution: plug-in electric vehicles.

The fallacy with their rationale, is that nearly 80 percent of our country’s electricity is generated from coal and natural gas  – two other areas that were attacked in the report. Yet before I lead you astray, the organization’s future energy choice is solar, in the form of solar charging stations. The irony however, is that solar, along with wind, also receive subsidies but nary is there a mention of this in Green Scissors 2010.

Are we to believe then, that solar subsidies, and wind and geothermal by omission, are good subsides for the country and the environment?

Look I’m all for a review of energy subsidies and I am a vocal supporter of renewable energy. But the bottom line is you can’t pick and choose which industries receive subsidies and which ones don’t.

It’s all or nothing people. ALL or NOTHING.

In the meantime, while people continue to fight over the veracity of several biofuels subsidies that are up for renewal this year (yet fail to bring in oil and gas subsidies in the debate) the Green Scissors campaign, that was launched 15 years ago, continues on. This campaign causes me to ask if Friends of the Earth actually has any friends.

biofuels, Ethanol, Oil, Opinion, politics, Research, Solar, transportation, Wind