Subscribe for 17¢ / day

Dear Editor:

David Imgrund’s Oct. 4 guest editorial in The Sentinel contained a host of misleading statements about homegrown biofuels like ethanol.

Readers deserve the truth about the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and why it deserves strong support from policy leaders like Sen. Bob Casey, Sen. Pat Toomey and Rep. Lou Barletta.

First of all, the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) research proved once again that homegrown ethanol reduces carbon emissions by 43 percent, largely because farmers are making more efficient use of existing cropland — not plowing up new land to grow corn, as oil companies like to claim. In fact, U.S. farmers grow more food and fuel than ever before on less land than was cultivated in the early 1900s.

Food is cheaper too. Corn prices have fallen — not risen — over the last 10 years, just as the market for biofuels has driven agricultural efficiency to new heights. Corn is down nearly a full dollar per bushel from $4.20 in 2007. The U.N. Global Food Price Index also shows cereals getting cheaper. That’s part of the reason why farmers are working hard to remind lawmakers why oil industry efforts to eliminate the market for biofuels could spark the worst rural recession since the Great Depression.

Mr. Imgrund was also wrong about America’s progress on new cellulosic fuels. Today, companies like POET and DuPont are producing cellulosic ethanol from farm waste that can nearly eliminate carbon emissions, while advancing America’s leadership in renewable energy. Innovations like these are a major reason why biofuels now support hundreds of thousands of American jobs.

The simple truth is that the RFS gives homegrown biofuels a chance to compete at the pump, helping to protect consumers from price manipulation by foreign oil producers, keep the air clean, and drive economic development across the country.

Chris Bliley

Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at Growth Energy