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Posts tagged “farm policy”

By Robert Rapier on May 29, 2012 with 13 responses

The First Commercial Cellulosic Plant is NOT About to Open

House Ag Committee Holds Hearings on Energy

On May 18, 2012 the House Committee on Agriculture held hearings on retaining Energy Title funding in the 2012 Farm Bill. Written testimonies and the video of the hearing are available at Formulation of the 2012 Farm Bill: Energy and Forestry Programs.

The hearings were held as Congress prepares to write the next Farm Bill. The purpose of this particular hearing was to discuss the renewable energy development provisions of the current Farm Bill, whether particular programs are achieving the desired results, and whether specific programs should be continued.

There were some comments during the hearing that warrant further analysis. CONTINUE»

By Robert Rapier on Jul 15, 2010 with 43 responses

The Ethanol Question I Did Ask

Last December, I received an intriguing request from the Public Relations Director at the world’s largest ethanol producer. Nathan Schock asked if I would be interested in posing a video question that would be answered by POET CEO Jeff Broin. He said that any topic was fair game, except for questions dealing with proprietary information. I considered a number of questions, and wrote an essay detailing my thought process as I ran through a list of potential questions: The Questions I Didn’t Ask. But I had one question that had been weighing on my mind more than any other, and I posed that one in the video I sent in. Since then, Nathan and I have exchanged a number of… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Apr 17, 2010 with 82 responses

Ethanol Lobby Concerned Over Misinformation

Last week the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) issued a press release in which they complained of “exaggerations” and “false information” related to claims by Brazil’s ethanol industry: “Fuzzy Math” and Brazilian Ethanol: The Numbers Don’t Add Up (April 15, 2010) Washington – In its newly launched public relations campaign, the Brazilian ethanol industry (UNICA) is making exaggerated and in some cases false claims about the benefits of its product over American ethanol. Most glaringly, Brazil asserts its product is always cheaper than that of the U.S. This is simply not true. A comparison of recent ethanol prices clearly shows that E10 (10% ethanol/90% gasoline) made with American ethanol would be 7 cents less at the retail level than E10 made… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Feb 18, 2010 with 37 responses

Looks Like I Struck a Nerve

I started to notice a trend in the comments following my latest Forbes essay about the redundant nature of ethanol subsidies now that mandates via the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) are in place. Several comments in a row seemed to be regurgitated talking points that were just red herrings with respect to the point I was making. I knew that meant that somewhere a call had gone out to ethanol supporters to speak out against me. I now know the source, and at the end of this essay, I offer a debate challenge to the organization that issued the talking points. To review, my point is simple. Someone said that it would be great if I could reduce it to… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Feb 16, 2010 with no responses

A Redundant Subsidy

My latest is up at Forbes right now. It is about the redundant nature of our current ethanol subsidy: A Redundant Subsidy An excerpt: As many ethanol producers have argued – the gasoline blender and not the ethanol producer receives the subsidy anyway. The gasoline blender – ExxonMobil for instance – buys ethanol for $1.70 per gallon (currently), receives a tax credit worth $0.45 per gallon (the credit was reduced to that level in 2009), and then blends it into gasoline that is presently wholesaling at approximately $1.90 per gallon. With the tax credit, the current price of ethanol on an energy equivalent basis to gasoline is just about equal to the $1.90 wholesale price of gasoline. So the tax… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jan 27, 2010 with no responses

Our Tax Dollars at Work

First off, a couple of announcements. After being able to stay at home for the past two months, I have a very heavy travel schedule over the next two weeks. My participation here will probably be limited. I am off to Seattle tomorrow, on to the Netherlands from there, will visit Switzerland and Germany, back to the U.S. mainland, on to Canada, and then back to Hawaii. I have essentially piled up eight visits I need to make into one big, exhausting trip. My ability to post and respond to comments and e-mails will be spotty at best. Second, my first essay went up yesterday at Forbes: The Price of Energy. My intention is to put something up there every… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jan 10, 2010 with no responses

Wood Versus Fuel

I know it has been a week since I put up something new. Some readers have also noticed that I haven’t been commenting much lately, and my e-mails are piling up. Things have just been really busy. I have a few guest posts that should be ready to go within a week or so, but I saw a topical story this morning that was worth commenting on:The unintended ripples from the biomass subsidy program The issue of incentives for biofuels increasing the demand for grains and thus helping drive up food prices is often called “Food versus Fuel.” There is also an incentive program (Biomass Crop Assistance Program) designed to encourage the use of biomass for heat, power, or biofuels…. Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Dec 5, 2009 with no responses

The Questions I Didn’t Ask

I have been asked to submit a video question on ethanol policy that will be potentially answered in a video blog by someone who is very well-known in the energy business. I will keep the details quiet for now, including the question I did submit. (I thought I would be able to record my question with stunning Hawaiian scenery in the background, but alas it has been raining for two days). I really had to brainstorm on exactly which question I would ask. I made a short list, and finally honed it down to one that I think is fair, but tough. But I had a number that I decided not to ask, either because I already knew how it… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jul 28, 2009 with no responses

King Corn and Big Oil

Over the weekend, I watched the documentary King Corn. It was released in October 2007, but I just now got around to watching it online at Netflix. The premise is that a pair of college friends from the East Coast wanted to learn more about where our food comes from. When they learn about the importance of corn in our food supply, they move to Iowa and decide to grow an acre of corn over a growing season in order to better understand its role in the food chain. As the movie progresses, U.S. farm policy with respect to corn is explored. It struck me during the movie that U.S. farm policy has many parallels to U.S. energy policy. Both… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on May 16, 2008 with no responses

Redundant Ethanol Subsidies

The proposed farm bill just sent to President Bush (and expected to be vetoed) contains several ethanol provisions. One is to cut the corn ethanol subsidy from $0.51/gal to $0.45/gal. Forbes explains: Ethanol For Everyone! It also includes $1 billion for energy-related programs, including several provisions related to ethanol and other biofuels. Notably, it reduces the tax credit paid to ethanol producers from 51 cents to 45 cents per gallon. The bill also establishes a sugar-to-ethanol program and includes a temporary tax credit of up to $1.01 per gallon for production of cellulosic ethanol, made from non-edible products like wood chips. “Now that the ethanol industry has matured, it is appropriate to curb the tax subsidy provided to ethanol,” says… Continue»