Congressional Energy Diet Also Reduces Waistlines and Pocketbooks (Don’t Even Ask About Global Warming!)

From David Almasi:

The liberal leadership in Congress came to power in 2006 saying they had a solution to rising gas prices. Did that solution involve prices continuing to go up and taking the cost of food with them?

When Americans decided to clean up the environment in the 1950s, there was a lot of trust in the American people. There were regulations to clean things up, of course, but voluntary action, anti-littering campaigns and appeals to our better nature went a long way.

But the trust factor has been eviscerated, and it’s to no one’s benefit.

As National Center Senior Fellow Dana Joel Gattuso points out in a Townhall column:

Congress doesn’t trust consumers to make the right decision when it comes to selecting the right source of energy. Congress knows better. That’s why legislation out of Capitol Hill is all about weaning us off oil and putting us directly on a “renewable energy” diet.

Witness the energy tax bill the House passed in February that slaps $18 billion in taxes on oil production to fund wind, solar, biofuels, and other “alternative” sources. Witness the new energy law passed in December mandating that Americans increase the use of ethanol and other biofuels at the pump to 36 billion gallons by 2022, up from 7 billion gallons required now. And witness the new farm bill that gives corn growers $10.5 billion in subsidies over the next five years, no matter how fast the price of corn rises – which, incidentally, has gone from $3.50 a bushel to a record $5.50 over the past three months.

Commenting directly on mismatched concerns over abundance and price when it comes to food and energy, Dana writes:

Even with oil topping $109 a barrel [on April 15], it is still relatively abundant. As the U.S. Geological Survey reports, there are 3 trillion billion barrels of oil reserves still available globally. For perspective, since the first automobile rolled off the assembly line, we’ve consumed only one trillion barrels.

Conversely, ethanol and other biofuels are extremely limited resources requiring enormous amounts of water, energy, and land otherwise used for growing food. The new energy law’s requirement that Americans use 15 billion gallons of corn for fuel by 2015 – that doesn’t include the other 21 billion gallons to come from non-food sources like switchgrass and corn husks – will consume an astounding 30 million acres of cropland. That means unless the mandates are repealed, more than a third of our corn crops will be diverted from food to fuel in just seven years.

U.S. policies forcing biofuel usage already are creating food shortages in third world countries, elevating food prices to historic levels.

It’s worth it to combat global warming, right? Wrong.

Two independent studies in the journal Science report that the clearing of forests, grasslands, and other ecosystems throughout the world to grow corn, soybean, and other food-for-fuels will double greenhouse emissions over the next 30 years. Because plants and soil hold enormous quantities of carbon, destroying existing plants and tilling the soil releases the stored carbon.

Still in a mood to celebrate Earth Day this coming Tuesday?

To read Dana’s commentary in its entirety, click here.

To contact author David Almasi directly,

write him at [email protected]

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.