The Associated Press published an investigation Tuesday showing ethanol hasn’t lived up to some of the government’s clean-energy promises.
The report is drawing criticism from the ethanol industry. Ethanol producers, corn growers and industry groups say the report is rife with errors. In fact - Renewable Fuels Association Vice President of Research and Analysis Geoff Cooper told reporters Monday there is probably more truth in this week’s National Enquirer than the AP story.
But AP Vice President and Senior Managing Editor Mike Oreskes is standing behind the AP’s reporting - stating the report is a result of months of work and review of documents and interviews of experts and people on all sides of the public policy debate about this energy resource.
The ethanol industry is disputing several of the AP’s finding - including the idea that farmers wiped out millions of acres of conservation land and destroyed habitat in their rush to find new places to plant corn. The industry says the primary driver for such losses was the Congressional decision to lower the number of acres allowed in conservation.
The AP suggests USDA figures tell a different story. Another industry complaint is the AP’s statement that more corn went to fuel than livestock feed since 2010.
The ethanol industry points to the distiller’s grains left behind by the distillation process that can be used for feed. The AP utilized data from USDA’s Economic Research Service - which doesn’t factor in distiller’s grain.
National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson says one of those misconstrued facts is that reduced acres in the Conservation Reserve Program were for biofuels - instead of the truth - that Congress reduced CRP by roughly 7-million acres in the 2008 Farm Bill. Johnson says NFU will continue to stand up for the Renewable Fuel Standard that is cleaning up the environment, diversifying fuel sources and supporting rural economies.
National Corn Growers Association President Martin Barbre says the fact is that farmers are doing a better job every day of meeting the duel challenges of productivity and sustainability - and renewable corn ethanol is helping the U.S. use 465-million fewer barrels of oil each year.