Farmers grow corn. Corn feeds animals and people, or at least it used to. Now it feeds your SUV and a lot of people are starving.
But there’s alternatives, as blogger Hans Bader notes at the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Openmarket blog:
In the American Spectator, Iain Murray notes that ethanol production has caused “food shortages and massive increases in food prices around the world. There have been food riots in Indonesia, Mexico, Egypt, and most recently, Haiti — where the poor have been reduced to eating cakes made with bleach and are on the verge of bringing the government down. Even in America, some grocery stores have begun to institute a form of rationing. Meanwhile, massive tracts of rainforest are being cleared in Indonesia to produce biodiesel, threatening the orangutan and other magnificent animals with extinction. In Brazil, the growth of sugar cultivation for ethanol is forcing food producers into the Amazon.”
By contrast, one of the Audubon Society’s chief bird sanctuaries (the Paul J. Rainey Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana), has 37 oil wells on site, and has produced natural gas for 50 years without harming the environment. Drilling for oil hasn’t harmed the birds a bit. But ethanol production causes environmental destruction, mass hunger, starvation, and rioting worldwide.
Disclosure: like many Americans, I have a retirement plan (both a 401(K) and an IRA). Like most retirement plans, it contains mutual funds. And most of those mutual funds own some stock in oil companies. So when politicians demand that the government impose a “windfall profits tax” on oil companies, what they are really trying to do is take money from my retirement plan — and your retirement plan, too, if you have one. That’s not going to encourage exploration for new sources of oil, or reduce our dependence on foreign oil. (Emphasis mine.)
He’s right on the money, because Hans and I agree on the point of getting our own supply. It was nice to get the fact about the Louisiana wells, particularly in the wake of incidents like the Exxon Valdez in Alaska. So let’s get out and drill!