U.S. senators hold press conference to dispel ethanol myths

By Kris Bevill | May 09, 2008
Web exclusive posted May 22, 2008 at 4:34 p.m. CST

Six U.S. senators held a press conference in Washington D.C., on May 22 to combat the launching of the Grocery Manufacturers Association's anti-ethanol media campaign and to dispel myths about corn-based ethanol.

Senators Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Kit Bond, R-Mo., Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., John Thune, R- S.D., Ben Nelson, D-Neb., and Ken Salazar, D- Colo., participated in the news conference.

Grassley led the conference and remarked that some members of the legislature are beginning to be swayed by false information on ethanol that was presented to them by the GMA. "The Grocery Manufacturers Association has an obvious self-interest in launching this campaign," he said. "They need to blame someone for high grocery bills, but they've aimed their fire at a false target. Buying into their line won't do anything to help families trying to make ends meet."

Grassley said the need for new sources of energy is a "no-brainer" and continuously rising oil prices underscore the need for our nation's continued efforts to explore sources of renewable energy. He then directly addressed the GMA and asked, "Do you want America to place its trust in OPEC or in U.S. farmers?"

Nelson also expressed his frustration and disbelief in GMA's ethanol smear campaign. "I'm not sure when it happened or why it happened but it's incredible to me that someone decided to add ethanol to the members of the axis of evil," he said. "As an oil-based economy, we have to move to renewable fuels in order to provide for our own energy security in the future and that means we're not going to find the solution to the problem at the bottom of the next empty oil well."

The senators reviewed proven facts about the effects of corn-based ethanol on gasoline prices, including:
  • Merrill Lynch has estimated that fuel prices would be 15 percent higher if there were no biofuels production.

  • The USDA has stated that 81 percent of food costs is to cover the manufacturing, packaging, distributing and retailing of food products - proving a direct correlation to petroleum prices.

  • Several independent estimates have shown that ethanol has actually lowered the cost of retail gasoline by 30 to 40 cents per gallon.

To listen to the entire press conference, visit Grassley's Web site, www.grassley.senate.gov.