Thursday, August 21, 2008

More Reasons to Free us from the Ethanol Devil

The growing number of reasons to drop ethanol and its government subsidies continues to reveal the utter stupidity of pursuing ethanol as a significant source of renewable fuel.

As people continue to deconstruct the arguments made in favor of ethanol, it's getting clearer and clearer it's an initiative pushed by special interest groups who created fear of foreign energy dependency at the cost of sanity.

While we obviously need to look at real alternatives in the years ahead, we are far from being in some type of serious trouble, as the billions of barrels of oil under American soil, as well as under its oceans attest to.

Environmentalists and opportunist have created this false problem by panicking people into believing we're on the cusp of a worldwide disaster, when in reality there's enough oil to last for decades ... if not longer.

Recent discoveries in Brazilian waters, along with the huge oil deposits in the Canadian oil sands are also proof of the need to slow down and take into account all the effects and unintended consequences that always accompany decisions that are motivated by fear and political expediency.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

U.S. Ethanol Subsidies to Keep Food Prices High Everywhere

The outrageous subsidy for corn-based ethanol in the U.S. continues to batter consumers across the world, as even though other commodities have been dropping, food prices are expected to stay the same, and in a number of cases - rise.

For retail food prices in the U.S., they have been growing at a 6 percent rate this year, in contrast to the regular inflation rate at about 2 percent.

With irresponsible politicians and ongoing ignoring of stories like this by the mainstream media, the cost of food items related to corn price increases like chicken, beef and pork are projected to continue rising for the immediate future. The majority of that related to the misguided and terrible idea of subsidizing big corporate corn farmers so it can look like the government is doing something related to energy.

The disaster will continue until the story is continually reported on and the reality of the consequences understood by the public.

The next meat to be affected will be chicken, which so far producers haven't passed on the higher feed costs to consumers, but Bill Roenigk, senior vice president of the National Chicken Council said that's all about to change.

"From a consumer standpoint, more and more of these feed costs are going to be passed on and that means higher prices at the supermarket," said Roenigk.

All this because of the usual pressure from special interest groups with an agenda, as well as a government that continues to pass themselves off as the big daddy of the universe. Until this attitude is reined in, Americans and people around the world will continue to suffer from the continual rise in food prices.

Just like we need to drill for the billions of barrels of oil on American soil or it's coastlines, so we need to stop this outrageous subsidy that is helping no one but the huge corporate corn farmers in America, as well as some landowners cashing in on rising farmland prices.

Monday, August 11, 2008

More Reasons to Drop the Ethanol Nonsense

As Kenneth P. Green wrote in a recent article concerning ethanol, we need to adapt a new slogan: "Ethanol: Drink It, Don't Drive It."

He offers a number of reasons increasingly understood as to why we need to drop this disastrous policy and taxpayer subsidy for corn-based, or any other type of ethanol, encouraged for the dubious reason of being energy independent, creating jobs, lowering gasoline prices and reducing the non-existent global warming.

The truth is, other than the corn industry, nobody is really prospering from this misguided government policy set up to make it look like something's being done. I guess people deserve it for making big government their god.

Other possibilities like making use of switch grass or other cellulosic crops to produce ethanol would "increase greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent compared to using regular gasoline."

Whether or not increasing greenhouse gas emissions is really bad for the planet, using the standards of those promoting ethanol as the answer, it is a negative.

Anyway, go here to get a number of reasons this needs to be stopped ASAP.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Moronic EPA Rejects Ethanol Waiver Request of Texas Governor Rick Perry

As Texas Governor Rick Perry said in response to the idiotic decision by the EPA to refuse an ethanol waiver, "Congress specifically created an emergency waiver provision for situations like these and EPA refuses to implement it."

In the latter part of April, Perry asked the EPA for a 50 percent waiver on the so-called Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which artificially forces about 9 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol to be added to U.S. gasoline supplies on a yearly basis. Next year it'll rise to 11.1 billion gallons.

It's caused huge food problems around the world, and has significantly impacted the price of food in the U.S., as prices continue to rise.

According to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, the agency denied the waiver because it did not find it caused "severe economic harm."

I wonder if he knows how stupid that sounds? He's basically acknowledging it's causing harm, but as long it's not "severe," it's ok. Screwball!

The only recognition that it's causing higher prices was that it has in the EPA's terms it is only adding 7 cents to each bushel of corn.

While that could be disputed, even if it's true, you add that to the number of bushels sold and it's significant. But that's far from the whole story, and Johnson and the EPA know it. There are huge residual effects not talked about, like the cost of feed and seed, which adds to the price of various meats. Even more significantly, the increasing use of acreage for corn is causing less acreage to grow other crops, which is also raising their prices.

The cost of ethanol is huge, and largely not worth the effort. It's already seen as a disaster in the making, and the usual good intentions of government interference in the free market is again rearing its ugly head, as people pay the price of lawmakers' folly.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Archer Daniels Midland Co. Acknowledges Slowdown in Agricultural Products, Especially Ethanol-related

Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) is the third-largest ethanol producer in the U.S., and the slowing demand for corn-based ethanol has had a significant impact on the company's performance for the quarter. A number of producers have stopped or closed expansion plans in response to the falling demand. Corn prices have also responded accordingly, falling to four-month low of $5.3625 a bushel today.

John Rice, executive vice-president commercial and production, attempting to shore up the company's stock said he believes the price and demand pressures are largely limited to North America, citing Asian sales are continuing to grow; although he was thinking in terms of meat there rather than ethanol-related consumption.

But he also acknowledged the drop in demand for palm oil was also having a significant effect on the margins of the company.

Rice added concerning the growing push to offer waivers for the ethanol mandate as something he's not too worried about. "We're already blending over the mandate right now, so even if there is a waiver (from the federal mandate) we don't see ethanol demand slowing down," said Rice.

If this was only connected to waivers, I may agree with Rice, but there is a growing resistance to the subsidizing and encouragement of corn-based ethanol, and if it continues to grow, like it seems it will, we could see some significant changes in direction for that commodity. That could have adverse effects on ADM. Ethanol Fix of course hopes that happens, as it's doing much more harm than good.

As far as the share price of ADM, it has plummeted by 40 percent since May, as commodity price concerns continue to hammer the profits and growth of the company.

Profits in the fourth quarter fell by 61 percent for the company, as market demand for their products continued to fall.

Share price also missed analysts' expectations by a large margin, reaching only 58 cents a share, while analysts were looking for 67 cents a share. Net income came in at $372 million for the quarter ending June 30.

Revenue for the quarter did rise by $21.8 billion, with about 90 percent of that attributed to higher commodity prices and increased volumes.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Texas Gov. Rick Perry Continues Battle Against Ethanol and Rising Feed Prices

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, still concerned about rising feed prices, continues his battle to pressure the federal government to cut ethanol production requirements in half.

Perry rightly notes that federal requirements to increase the ethanol mandate is "no longer a good idea. It's hurting America. It's hurting our families."

The high cost of corn-based ethanol has not only devasted the food industry for human consumption, but also the cost of feeding livestock, which of course also goes directly to consumers' pocketbooks.

There is growing opposition to the ill-advised Renewable Fuel Standard by just about everybody but those taking advantage of subsidies; including the corn growers.

The EPA administrator has the authority to dismiss the requirements after it consults with the Energy and Agriculture secretaries.