Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Letter to WSJ on ethanol

Chicago Tuesday AM 1 February 2011

Editors, The Wall Street Journal


The Wall Street Journal closes its Saturday 22 January editorial “Amber Waves of Ethanol” with the fine point that “it makes no sense to devote scarce farmland to make a fuel that exists only because of taxpayer subsidies and mandates.” Just how scarce can be demmonstrated by noting that corn cannot be grown on the 70% of the earth's surface covered by seawater (unlike oil, which just getting started seems to be found anywhere anyone wants to make a 15,000 foot try.) And corn is quite finnicky on just where on the 30% of the surface it will grow: not too much corn grown in the world's largest desert, nor the polar regions. Even where it can be grown, it can't be done continuously – it must be regularly rotated with other crops that do not demand so much of the soil.

After such a fine description of an important point, you could be excused for taking a rest, but you come back just 9 days later with your “Professor Cornpone” editorial of Monday 31 January. Maybe not such a hard job after all, needing only to quote the History PhD Newt Gingrich foolishly describing your “long-held anti-ethanol views as 'just plain flat intellectually wrong.'”

Mr. Gingrich should quite trying to out-Perlosi the minority house leader and return to what he does better than anyone: Maintaining and increasing Republican control of the National legislature.

Arnold H Nelson

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