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Are Ethanol Opponents Sniffing Glue?


Something is making them dizzy!

By Marc J. Rauch
Exec. Vice President/Co-Publisher

Marc J. Rauch

AUTO CENTRAL - June 9, 2016: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency held a public hearing today in Kansas City, Missouri. The hearing is part of the EPA process for setting/recommending the proposed rule "Renewable Fuel Standard Program: Standards for 2017 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2018."

More than 130 individuals were set to give live testimony, with additional write-in testimonies.

In preparation for this hearing and EPA process, a group called American Council For Capital Formation (an oil industry lobby shill group) commissioned a report from Dr. Daniel De La Torre Ugarte, Research Professor, Department Of Agricultural And Resource Economics University Of Tennessee. A press release regarding the report can be found by CLICKING HERE. The entire report can then be accessed via the press release.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
Dr. Daniel De La Torre Ugarte

Dr. Ugarte's report pretty much follows the oil industry's standard playbook on inventing or over-exaggerating information to pretend that their own sh.., uh, stuff, doesn't stink. They wave their checkbooks and college professors or think-tank stooges magically appear. Sometimes the professors have degrees in a field related to energy and fuels, sometimes they don't. Sometimes the think-tank guys or gals have some knowledge of the industry, sometimes they don't.

To be honest with you, very often as I begin to engage an oil industry shill I am amazed at the high level of credentials that he or she sports. I mean, it's David versus Goliath all over again. Lucky for me, inside my ammo bag is a very smart business partner, lots of incredible fuel/energy people to consult, and a ton of honest-to-goodness facts.

So what always winds up happening is that the oil industry's Goliath gets left lying on the ground with a great big wound in the middle of its forehead and their college degrees scattering in the wind. It's a clear case of "the bigger they are, the harder they crash and burn." The reason they crash and burn, regardless of their credentials, is that they are simply repeating the lies and exaggerations created by the oil industry. Am I overstating the results? Judge for yourself; read ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST - its an anthology of some of the battles I've had over the past few years.

But let me not dwell on the past, because there's a great battle to engage in today, with some new meat.

As it turns out, ACCF and it's new boy, George 'David' Banks, was the subject of a reply I published this past March in response to a hit piece written by 'David.' I provide a link to all of this in a paragraph below, so hang in for a minute. Consequently, I already had some knowledge of the American Council For Capital Formation. I was not aware of Dr. Ugarte - he's the new meat.

You'll read that I refer to Professors David Pimentel and Tad Patzik, and their attempts to fatally kill ethanol. You'll notice that I refer to these attempts as having been unsuccessful in the long term. I document their figurative demise in the 60+ page report I published three years ago. You don't have to read the entire report, unless you really want to, you can go straight to the relevant chapter by CLICKING HERE. Just scroll down to the section on EROEI.

Okay, so I read the new ACCF press release, which was forwarded to me by Bobby Likis (a real live expert in automobile maintenance and repair, and host of a fabulous national radio program). Then I read Dr. Ugarte's complete report, and here's what the email I sent to him and ACCF says:


I finished reading your press release, as well as the 17-page report written by Dr. Daniel De La Torre Ugarte that's referred to in the press release.

Before I comment on Dr. Ugarte's report I'd like to point out that I'm still waiting for a reply to a letter that I wrote to George David Banks and your organization on March 21, 2016; subsequent to Mr. Banks' editorial titled "Renewable Fuel Standard Continues To Devastate." I think it's rather irresponsible for him and your organization - if it's a legitimate organization - to have not responded to me. If you misplaced what I sent to ACCF in March you can read the entire text here: Meet The New 'Tool' In Big Oil's Efforts To Scuttle Ethanol .

On to the present: It seems to me that Dr. Ugarte has picked up the baton fumbled by Professors Pimentel and Patzik in their ill-fated attempts to present overly exaggerated, convoluted "scientific" information in place of facts and common sense. Years ago, when I was young, I also worked with models. I found that the glue used at that time made me dizzy. I'm wondering if the same thing happened to Dr. Ugarte with his modeling. Yes, of course I'm being sarcastic and I'm trying to add some levity to the issue, because that's the only way to take Dr Ugarte's report.

The bottom line in the newest ACCF and Dr. Ugarte's attempt to vilify ethanol is that if any of the conclusions contained in the report were significant and relevant that the report should call for the immediate closure of all golf courses located in the states that border the Mississippi River, or that have rivers and streams that feed into the Mississippi River. Did you know, by the way, that there are approximately 10,000 such golf courses and they all use fertilizer. Do we really need to have people wasting their lives with a silly game when there are hundreds of millions of starving people in the world?

These golf courses are in addition to all the corporate and educational campus lawns located in those states, not to mention all the residential communities, all of which use fertilizer that eventually gets washed into the rivers, streams, etc., etc.

In the same vein, I'm wondering why there is no general hue and cry to stop new vineyards and hop fields from being planted. I don't know how much you guys know about wine and beer, but as a wine and beer aficionado I can tell you that we don't need any new wines or beers. We have plenty, and there's never a shortage at supermarkets and liquor stores. Perhaps the American Council For Capital Formation should address the crucial over-supply of wine and beer issue at a later time.

And don't forget that all of these golf courses, campuses, residential communities and ever-increasing number of vineyards and hop fields require care and maintenance that utilizes tractors, lawn mowers, small engine tools, other service vehicles, and of course all the personal internal combustion engine vehicles driven by the patrons, employees, students, home owners, etc. I can't even imagine the quantity of harmful emissions spewing out of all these machines. Do you think Dr. Ugarte has an agricultural model that can calculate this?

Something else just occurred to me, Dr. Ugarte does know that all of these activities involves soil erosion, doesn't he? If so, how can he in good conscience worry about soil erosion from corn farming? Maybe if everybody just stayed home and lived off the nutrients carried in the air and vitamins from natural sunlight we'd all be better off?

Incidentally, how much harmful engine emissions and soil erosion goes on around the world that's caused by military efforts that are needed to defend oil production and shipping. Let's see, there's aircraft carriers, destroyers, tanks, jet fighters, tankers, jet bombers, jeeps, humvees, staff cars, bombs exploding, the production of all the materiel. There's also the loss of American lives, but I'm sure you guys can't concern yourselves over these trivial people.

But what really makes me wonder if Dr. Ugarte knows anything about the overall issue of using ethanol for fuel is his (and ACCF's) overall attack on biofuels. He and you act as if fossil fuels are not poison; as if the entire fossil fuel industry has not required trillions of dollars in subsidies; as if gasoline and petroleum diesel does not damage engines; as if gasoline is a superior fuel to ethanol; as if there are no environmental and health problems arising from fossil fuel production and use; and as if ethanol (or a logical anti-knock ingredient) is not needed in high-compression engines. Without ethanol we have leaded gasoline or gasoline with MTBE or gasoline loaded with toluene.

You guys act like you're getting paid by the petroleum oil industry to invent and disseminate lies. Oh, I hope I didn't touch an exposed nerve.

I think your organization is fraudulent. I think Dr. Ugarte's report is specious. Prove me wrong. Debate me. Debate my team against yours. America's future is at stake, the free world's future is at stake. If you care enough to spend time creating and disseminating lies about this issue, then step up and put the oil industry's money where your mealy-mouths are, debate the issue in a public nationally televised forum. Let's do it before November so that the politicians will have a clear and deciding understanding of the issue.

This time I expect a reply.

As usual, I cc'd several this email to several of the incredible fuel/energy people I know. Here's a reply I received from Steven VanderGriend of Urban Air Initiative and ICM Inc.:

"Marc - Thank you for writing these folks. I find it interesting they only look at the data they want to and totally ignore reality.

I find no mention about the protein value and just wonder how they can think cellulosic is better. We can exceed 50 percent feeding value to livestock from an acre of corn and still take all that starch to ethanol.

Last week I was talking to an agronomist here in Kansas. Technology has come a long ways and even with increased yields per acre, fertilizer application is down per acre so how can these guys claim all the increase.

These guys totally ignore the fuel benefits as well and would assume they are drinking the Kool-aide of API and the manipulated vehicle studies. If they only knew the truth that many of us can blend test fuels to either make ethanol look good or have ethanol look worse. It’s all about who control the fuel blending who then also controls the outcome of the study.

They should look at the octane value but I am sure they would just assume it is to technical. That 1 gallon of ethanol can displace 2 gallons of aromatics as it relates to octane. They just think ethanol is less efficient because ethanol has less energy per gallon but automotive studies show that based on energy, ethanol burn 3 to 6 percent more efficiently. If they only knew what make a better fuel and that the auto’s want more octane such as E25/E30 to increase efficiency.

The biggest issue in my view is the dirty little secret API and even EPA is hiding. As Carnegie Mellon and some other recent studies now point out, 40 percent of particulates by number in the eastern US is from gasoline combustion. The highest source of ultra-fine particulates in urban areas and the leading cause of coronary disease listed by the University of Wisconsin.

You are right Marc, we should question who is actually paying for this study. Maybe they should visit this link and start looking at petroleum’s problems: