John McCain has joined 23 fellow Republicans in urging the Bush administration to waive requirements for high ethanol production, blaming the alternative fuel for driving up US food prices.
McCain has long opposed government subsidies for ethanol, but the presidential hopeful tempered his criticism in advance of this winter's caucus in corn-growing Iowa. Despite praising ethanol as "a good alternative" to gas, McCain lost Iowa by a large margin.
The Republican's latest denunciation of ethanol came in a letter to Stephen Johnson, head of the US environmental protection agency. Two dozen senators, including McCain, asked Johnson to waive an ethanol mandate that many in their party backed a half year ago.
"It isn't a surprise that food prices are rising when more than 25% of the corn grown today is taken out of the food supply and instead used for subsidised ethanol production," McCain said in a statement.
"We need to put an end to flawed government policies that distort the markets, raise food prices artificially, and pit producers against consumers."
Barack Obama, who represents the mid-western state of Illinois, has defended ethanol amid controversy over corn's role in driving up the price of fuel and food. McCain's criticism of ethanol mandates may bolster his reputation for forthrightness, but it also could bolster Obama's claim to contest right-leaning Iowa in the November general election. [...]
Obama and the Democrats want to continue supporting corn-ethanol because it's politically correct on the left, and because rising food prices may help them win the White House in November, even though it's a problem created primarily by Democrats (Al Gore's deciding vote in 1994 pushed the legislation through). So ironically, the Democrats will be offering themselves as a solution to a problem THEY created!
The article also mentions restrictive tariffs against importing cheap sugar-based ethanol from Brazil. If ethanol production is supposed to be about solving our energy needs, then why are we blocking importation of cheap sources? McCain is also risking loosing support from Republican politicians from corn growing states by opposing the ethanol mandate. It seems that American ethanol production may be more about politics of government hand-outs than problem solving. Read the whole thing for more details about the politics of corn and government subsidies.
YOU CANT EAT ETHANOL ... FOOD VS. FUEL