Lies, Repeated Often Enough, Become Fact

Limiting ethanol content to 10 percent isn't a technical issue, writes BBI International's Mike Bryan. It's a political issue, plain and simple.
By Mike Bryan | April 09, 2014

The U.S. ethanol industry is energized (rightly so) by the uptick in the ethanol export market. At the same time, it is unfortunate that we rejoice over a growing export market when we consume 130 billion gallons of gasoline annually in America. The question that needs to be asked is why would we have to export anything when ethanol is such a small percentage of the total market?

Ethanol is restricted to a 10 percent blend level,  in many cases, while battling tooth and nail to achieve a 15 percent blend over strong opposition, when other countries like Brazil utilize much higher blends, trouble free. It’s not a technical issue, it’s a political issue and even the politicians who side with the oil industry know it’s not a technical issue.

There has been ample fodder for the anti-ethanol folks, food vs. fuel, deforestation, land use, consumer concerns, drivability and more, all generously provided by the oil industry under the cover of independent research, humanitarian concern and consumer protection. These are fabricated tales of the highest order, yet for those who want to see the demise of the ethanol industry, it’s all the information they need to wage war on ethanol and agriculture in general. There is no need to concern oneself with the facts, you can easily ignore the truth and hide from reality, because you have have been well-armed with tales of woe to help make your case on behalf of the oil industry. As the saying goes, “Lies repeated often enough become fact.”

Whether it’s food, ethanol, plastics or pharmaceuticals, American agriculture has a leg up on oil. Professor Thomas Johnson of the University of Missouri has co-authored a paper on the benefits to rural economies of a robust bioenergy industry. This includes not only biofuels but a range of bio-manufactured products. The rural economy of America is poised for great things and biofuels  are just tip of the iceberg.

It’s time that agriculture assumes its rightful place in the economic future of America. Not just as a provider of food, but as an environmentally responsible provider of a wide range of products that are now often petroleum-based. We have to move away from the idea that crops can only be used to feed people, we need to abandon the fear of genetically modified crops that can significantly improve yields  and shed the shackles that have bound us to the antiquated belief that if you use crops for anything other than feeding people, it’s somehow a sin against humanity.

Agriculture provides a pathway to a bright, domestic and economically sound future. When the oil wells today are nothing more than rusted relics of the past, American farmers will still be producing  an exciting array of renewable and environmentally responsible products, while helping feed the world.

That’s the way I see it!

Author: Mike Bryan
Chairman, BBI International