Walter Russel Mead: Something Good Came Out Of Epic Drought In The US Last Summer

  • Date: 12/02/13

Nine percent of the nation’s ethanol plants have stopped production. Just 91 more to go.

Persistent droughts have plagued U.S. ethanol this year, as a poor corn crop has put pressure on supply chains. The Boston Globe has the story:

The Renewable Fuels Association, a trade group, provided data showing that of the nation’s 211 ethanol plants, 20 have ceased production over the past year, including five in January. Most remain open, with workers performing maintenance-type tasks. But ethanol production probably won’t resume until after 2013 corn is harvested in late August or September. [...]

The drought began before planting and never stopped. Even though more acres were planted in 2012 compared to 2011, about 13 percent less corn was harvested.

Droughts are terrible things, but the stoppage in these ethanol plants is actually good news. The promotion of corn-based ethanol is one of the worst green policies ever conceived. It’s expensive and bad for the environment, and it drives up the global prices of corn, starving the world’s poor. As biofuel supplies dwindle, the U.S. should decrease the billions of dollars in subsidies it currently provides to corn ethanol.

Nine percent of the nation’s ethanol plants have stopped production. Just 91 more to go.

Via Meadia, 11 February 2013