Friday, April 25, 2008

Farm Bill Cuts Ethanol credit

An article from Reuters in the New York Times entitled "Farm Bill Boosts Nutrition And Cuts Ethanol Credit" reviews changes in the country's new farm law. This bill reflects public opinion on the food versus fuel conflict and changing public opinion on biofuels. The bill cuts corn ethanol credits from 51 cents per gallon to 45 cents per gallon. House Democrat Collin Peterson called this move "what the country wants." Peterson also claimed that what citizens really want is the growth of cellulosic ethanol production. To promote this industry, a tax credit of $1.01 a gallon for cellulosic ethanol was recently proposed by the Senate Finance Committee. In addition to ethanol credit cuts, the new farm bill allocates $10.4 billion towards food stamp programs.

The message in this article is that government and the citizenry are concerned about biofuels' effect on food prices and are not prepared to give up nutrition to fill up their gas tank. This is a logical response. Paul Dickerson touched on this issue in his talk in class this Thursday. He seemed to play down people's concerns about the effect of biofuels on the food supply, yet he gave no concrete justification for his belief. Of course their are other events that have compounded the food shortage the world is now facing (such as Australia's drought and decrease of rice production), but I think it is obvious that our first attempts to alter our energy supply from fossil fuels to food based biofuels have caused a disturbance in the world's food balance that cannot be ignored. I really wish Mr. Dickerson could have elaborated on his views in regards to this issue. I am still convinced that the food crisis we are seeing today has a strong correlation with the West's attempts to use food for biofuel production.

Can anyone support Mr. Dickerson's views on this issue?

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