Tragic Profit

You know what’s cool?  When organizations and people engaged in political and public policy debates shamelessly exploit tragedies in order to promote their political agendas.


The Left is very good at this.  But so, it turns out, is the ethanol industry.

Essentially a government creation, these guys are currently seeking a whole bunch of policy changes that would further prop up their industry, using both taxpayer dollars and government sticking its thumb on the scales.  They want more ethanol to be blended into our fuel.  They want car companies to be forced to make more flex fuel vehicles (you know, the ones that run on fuel that is 85% ethanol).  Of course, they want subsidies.  Yes: They WANT, and it doesn’t much matter if you or I think our tax money could be better spent on other things, or that government doesn’t exist to prop up pet industries, or that ethanol production and use isn’t actually good for the environment, or that it’s routinely tied to people going hungry in poor countries.

I repeat: They WANT.

So why should we be surprised that the ethanol industry is happily exploiting the tragedy that is the oil spill off the coast of Louisiana to attempt to further its own agenda?  I guess we shouldn’t be.

Here’s a sampling of what ethanol industry groups and promoters have been tweeting on this subject:

@NeCGA (the Nebraska Corn Growers Association): There is a fuel option that doesn’t result in oil spills in the ocean. It’s known as #ethanol. (this was retweeted by the South Dakota Corn Council/Corn Growers Association)

@blend_ethanol (the American Council for Ethanol): RT @BrekkeFarm: RT @NeCGA: There is a fuel option that doesn’t result in oil spills in the ocean. It’s known as#ethanol.

@mncorn (the Minnesota Corn Growers Association):RT @MNCornGuy @roarfarms No military support needed w/ #ethanol. No offshore drilling, ocean spills or ocean cleanup required. (this was retweeted by the Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board)

@ethanolfuel (a self-described ethanol promoter): Just one more reason to choose ethanol! RT @fuelinggood State of Emergency declared as oil slick nears Louisiana. #ethanol

@fuelinggood (a self-described advocate and promoter of ethanol): Oil slick in the Gulf is now the size of the State of Delaware & expanding… maybe we should expand biodegradable efforts like ethanol!


You see what they did there, don’t you?

The fact of the matter is, no matter how many times the ethanol lobby tries to pass itself off as “green,” environmentalists are not buying it.  So in addition to making the industry look pretty craven and hackish, their employment of these tactics is also frankly unlikely to sway anyone who currently thinks ethanol is a sure loser, from an environmental, or any other, standpoint.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to include President Obama or his Agriculture Secretary, who last week were touting their commitment to tripling ethanol production over the next 12 years.  That may be good news for the groups and individuals mentioned above, but it’s surely bad news for the rest of us.


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