On the Radio: Drought leads to questions about ethanol subsidies

An ethanol plant in Iowa. Photo by Hendrixson, Flickr.

Listen to this week’s radio segment here or read the transcript below. This week’s episode discusses the current controversy over ethanol subsidies in Iowa.

A debate rages in Iowa and the rest of the country over the continued subsidy of ethanol amidst our state’s drought.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Due to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard, there’s a guaranteed market for 13.2 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol this year. Livestock groups want the EPA to waive this requirement for 2012.

This is because the drought has damaged corn throughout the state, causing feed prices to skyrocket. Livestock owners worry that the ethanol standard will cause these prices to climb even higher.

Opponents of a temporary break from the Renewable Fuel Standard cite a desire not to lose momentum on the long-term goal of increasing our country’s energy independence. The Fuel Standard is currently set to continue through 2022 and increase to a guaranteed market for 36 billion gallons of biofuel.

For more information on this debate, visit IowaEnvironmentalFocus.org.

From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Jerry Schnoor.

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