RFA CEO Responds to Atlantic Editorial

Cindy Zimmerman

Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Geoff Cooper penned the following response to an article in The Atlantic this week by David Frum alleging that using less ethanol could help Ukraine.

By Geoff Cooper

In nearly 20 years of advocating for American renewable fuel producers and farmers, I’ve seen my share of baseless accusations, uninformed rhetoric, and outright misinformation about corn ethanol. But in those two decades, I have rarely seen an attack as ignorant, incoherent, and insulting as the bizarre tirade recently launched against ethanol by David Frum in The Atlantic (“Ethanol: The Fuel that Powers Putin”).

One of the first rules of effective debate is to never repeat the deceiving arguments of your opponent, so I won’t go into detail on Mr. Frum’s specious allegations about the impacts of ethanol on global grain markets and food security. But the crux of his cockamamie contention is that expanded U.S. ethanol production has somehow “strengthened Russia’s grip upon the world’s food supply” because American farmers today are producing more corn for domestic use and less wheat for export than they did in the 1980s. This is completely absurd.

Wheat’s decline in the United States began decades before commercial-scale ethanol production even began. The amount of U.S. cropland planted to wheat peaked in 1981 at 88 million acres, ironically, in response to President Reagan’s lifting of a U.S. grain embargo against Russia (the embargo, incidentally, had been put in place by President Carter following the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan). Ethanol was barely an idea at that time.

(Click to read the entire editorial from RFA)

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Renewable Fuels Association, RFA