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Ethanol Losing Its Lustre

Ethanol has gone from the answer for U.S. energy independence to what some are calling a cure that is worse than the disease, according to a Wall Street Journal article. The biofuel’s critics, which include industries hurt when the price of corn rises, blame ethanol for high food prices and question how eco-friendly it really is.  Plans for new plants are being shelved in certain cases, the Journal writes, and stock prices are near 52-week lows.

Here’s some of language being used by critics. A recent study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development concluded that biofuels “offer a cure [for oil dependence] that is worse than the disease,” according to the article, and an outside expert advising the UN on the “right to food” labeled the use of food crops to make biofuels “a crime against humanity.” The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization later disowned the remark as “regrettable.”

The ethanol lobby is pleading with Congress to drastically boost the amount of ethanol that oil refiners must blend into gasoline. ( The EPA just set a new renewable fuels standard of 4.66 percent, up from 4.02 percent in 2007.)

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