A Reuters report out of Athens today on former Vice President Al Gore’s comments about corn ethanol has generated responses from the U.S. ethanol industry.
According to the article, Gore said, “It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for (U.S.) first generation ethanol,” while speaking at a green energy business conference in Athens. He blamed his original support for corn ethanol on his presidential campaign. “One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president.”
Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis responded to Gore’s reported comments by noting the great success of first generation ethanol. “Earlier this year, we invited former Vice President Al Gore to visit a modern day ethanol plant to see firsthand what America’s grain ethanol industry has done, and what it can do, for our country given greater access to an open market. Our offer still stands.” Buis sent Gore a follow-up letter today.
On the Renewable Fuels Association E-xchange blog, Matt Hartwig said that Gore was right about ethanol the first time. “Now he tells us: Al Gore was for grain ethanol before he was against it,” writes Hartwig. “Gore bemoans “the lobbies that keep it [ethanol] going.” What about Big Oil lobbying for ever-more costly and risky offshore drilling? Gore should stop apologizing for having supported ethanol. He had it right the first time.”
Gore also reportedly said the corn ethanol has a definite impact on food prices, which has been disputed, and that he supports next generation ethanol from non-food feedstocks, which would not be possible without supporting first generation corn ethanol.
The Reuters story is being regurgitated by such news outlets as the Washington Post, FOX News and the Des Moines Register, but an actual transcript of Gore’s remarks has yet to surface.