Good intent, unintended consequences

November 12, 2013 

Adding ethanol to gasoline was supposed to be one of those win-win government requirements. Farmers would see increased demand for corn and our nation would get cleaner air. Plus it would reduce dependence on foreign oil.

But instead of win-win, the federal government's ethanol requirements are creating a new environmental nightmare. The Associated Press laid out all the bleak details in an excellent article in the BND on Tuesday -- hillsides eroded and conservation areas gone as farmers scramble to find new places to plant corn to cash in.

It turns out that ethanol isn't much better for the environment than gasoline. But now ethanol use isn't so much about clean air as it is keeping the farm subsidies going.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently told ethanol lobbyists: "We are committed to this industry because we understand its benefits. We understand it's about farm income. It's about stabilizing and maintaining farm income, which is at record levels."

These are just a few of the unintended consequences that happen when government picks winners and losers in its energy policy.

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