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Reuters Withdraws Its Tainted Anti-Ethanol Story


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Marc Rauch

The Village Idiot of News Syndicates Admits They Goofed

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

A little more than two weeks ago, Reuters published an anti-ethanol fuel story titled:

"How U.S. regulators allow ethanol plants to pollute more than oil refineries."

The article written by Leah Douglas, carried the sub-headline: "The ethanol plants’ high emissions result in part from a history of industry-friendly federal regulation."

Ms. Douglas' bio on the Reuters' website states that she is an award-winning journalist covering agriculture and energy policy.


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
Ethanol bashers
are modern-day
Village Idiots

The headlines, and the story, are very typical of the damning, out-of-context, rush-to-judgment bashing that oil industry minions engage in. Reuter's publication of this story resulted in the usual stampede of the story's circulation around the world. Some examples of where the fallacious story was reprinted include:

But then, on Friday, September 23rd, Reuters suddenly withdrew the story, stating that their:

..."Flawed interpretation of data on ethanol-plant pollution and fuel-production capacity...led to inaccurate estimates of carbon emissions for individual ethanol plants named in the story."


Over the past year, we've seen the re-emergence of several attacks like this that utilize Pimentel-Patzek style fabricated horse-manure to make ethanol fuel look bad. In February, a report authored by a group of academics led by Assistant Scientist Tyler Lark attempted to turn ethanol's cleaner, healthier characteristics into something that more closely resembles the deadly poison and filth of petroleum oil fuels.

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Leah Douglas

Not surprisingly, Leah Douglas wrote an article for Reuters in February that covered the Tyler Lark et al., report as if it had any merit. She's now written two incredibly stupid and naive anti-ethanol articles.

The Tyler Lark et al., report was roundly and soundly rebuked - almost as vigorously as David Pimentel and Tad Patzek were rebuked nearly two decades ago. My own rebuttal to Tyler Lark was:

SLAM! Shutting the File on the Tyler Lark Anti-Ethanol Study

And then Argonne National Laboratory replied to Tyler Lark et al., with their counter-reports that can be found at:

Some will undoubtedly congratulate Reuters for being so courageous to quickly and loudly withdraw the story.


But, the damage has been done, ethanol fuel has been unjustly demeaned again, and Leah Douglas' bovine manure will continue to be available on the Internet and wrongly quoted as anti-ethanol fact for years to come.

The truth is that Reuters has no credentials to analyze anything; they are as untrustworthy as CNN and the New York Times. Moreover, any attempt to claim that ancillary aspects of ethanol production and distribution make ethanol fuel unclean is terribly shortsighted. The ancillary aspects of petroleum oil fuels are far, far worse. For example, if you want to take into account all aspects of petroleum oil fuel use, you must take into account all the wars fought over oil since 1914 (i.e., WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War 1, Gulf War 2). Also, you must take into account all day-to-day aspects of military protection of the oil industry when no wars are waging. This means all the energy used, and pollution created, by the making of buttons and zippers on uniforms to weapons, vehicles, ammunition, food, etc. Then there's all the energy used and pollution created related to illnesses caused by gasoline and diesel fuel inhalation, such as all the trips to and from doctors' offices, hospitals, funerals, etc., etc.

Maybe it's time for Reuters to do some house cleaning of its reporting team, CNN style!