House GOP: Repeal ethanol mandate

[Oregon House Republicans Release}
HOUSE REPUBLICANS TO SEEK REPEAL OF ETHANOL MANDATE;
INCREASE MPG, BRING RELIEF AT THE PUMP

SALEM”” With Oregonians experiencing lower fuel efficiency and higher gas and food prices, House Republicans today announced a plan to repeal Oregon’s ethanol mandate. Estimates suggest the mandate has reduced gas mileage in vehicles and is costing Oregon drivers hundreds of dollars more at the pump.

“Oregonians are suffering from the unintended consequences of this new law,” said Rep. George Gilman (R-Medford), the proposal’s chief sponsor. “In 2009, we will work to repeal this costly ethanol mandate that is failing to work for Oregon.”

“Everyone recognizes the potential of biofuels as a renewable energy source, but the mandated use of corn-based ethanol is causing more problems than it is solving,” said Rep. Chuck Burley (R-Bend), Vice Chair of the House Energy Committee. “Our proposal offers Oregonians relief from this mandate. It also allows the Legislature to seek and promote more efficient sources of energy to power our state.”

Rep. Burley said ethanol’s impact on food prices, aviation sector fuels, and other costs were not discussed during the committee hearing process. “Sometimes these new initiatives, though well intentioned, need to be better vetted in the legislative process,” he added.

State and federal ethanol mandates are putting further pressure on Oregon families during the current recession. Rep. Gene Whisnant (R-Sunriver) said that the mandates must be repealed because they are leading to higher food costs.

“In addition to increasing energy costs, ethanol mandates and skyrocketing corn prices have reduced food production across the country,” Rep. Whisnant said. “As a result, Oregonians are paying more for their most basic necessities. Now that we’re seeing the results of this law, it’s time to repeal the mandate before it does more harm to working families.”

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Posted by at 10:14 | Posted in Measure 37 | 19 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Steve Plunk

    Bravo to Gilman, Burley, and Whisnant. Ethanol is doing more damage than good so the choice is obvious.

    It’s also time to learn a lesson about unintended consequences and the pitfalls of fashionable legislation.

    • Leota McKenzie

      I am a gas station attendant in Douglas County, Oregon.
      First Oregonians need to realize, WE DID NOT GET TO VOTE ON THIS FUEL INTIATIVE! Sure, we all want to help save our State & Country. But, hiding the Fuel bills under the Green house Plan, was wrong. Our state is out numbered when voting- due to the imbalance of voters in the metropolis areas. So, Portland and the other towns determine what we get all over the state- not fair. Second, This HB 2210, was a good idea for Wind & Solar power alternatives however, WE DID NOT GET TO VOTE ON IT! What happened here! The Democrats determined they knew what was right for us? Come on people, how can securing exclusive corn growers for manufacturing Ethanol be productive to our state? We are paying for the DEQ to monitor this and it’s distrubution… Read the Green house Plan.
      24 Legislative House Bills, seven of which are for the manufacture, distibution, monitoring of the Bio Fuel/ Ethanol. One for making it illegal to pump NON Ethanol into a vehicle manufactured after 1955, one to – oh yeah- MAKE IT STATE LAW WE HAVE TO SELL IT, another for the Vehicle Emmission Act- That takes effect January 2009. This is more than an Enviromental issue, here folks. Our right to vote was stripped away from us. Then we are FORCED to pay more for this Ethanol and Pay again with the damages it has done to our vehicles and 2 cycle engines! I see the people suffering at the pumps with these outrageous prices- we are still at $3.829 a gallon and that is ludicrous! We are paying for Ethanol to be pumped in our state, paying again for it to be made, monitored and distibuted and paying for damages, then we pay for the lack of corn in our markets! What part of STUPID, do you not get? I might be just a Gas Attendant but I can read. And this has got to be recalled. Please, It is distroying our small communities. People can’t afford to pay for these extra prices much longer. Oh, don’t forget that of these seven bills, there is another for licensing & registering our vehicles in January of 2009, if our vehicle does not comply with the Emmisions Act we can’t register it! Oh, the DEQ monitors this also. The HB 2210, had good intentions, but it never should have been “lumped” in one big Bill. Break it up, say it for what it is. Let the people vote on it. How did this get to be State Laws when we did not vote for it? Am I missing something? Or did The State Legislature buy into the Hype of it all?

      • Beth

        First, let me qualify my opinion by saying I’ve worked in the Ag industry for the past five years. I’ve worked as a grain merchandiser in rural Illinois buying beans and corn for a processing plant. I’ve worked as a soybean oil and soybean meal salesperson. I’m currently working as a third-party information provider to both suppliers and buyers of commodities and commodity-based products. And on top of it all, I’ve from a metropolitan area in Missouri; so I’ve seen both sides of this argument. Please allow me to give you the facts. I completely understand people’s distress over rising fuel and food costs, but its neccessary you understand how this works. First of all, the run-up in the cost of crude oil has nothing to do with ethanol. In fact, if the mandates were not in place, gas would be $.20 to $.40 more expensive. If you don’t believe me, do the research for yourself as many unbiased organizations has researched this. Second, yes, grain commodity prices are sky high, but it was minimally caused by ethanol. The run-up in corn and soybean prices is more greatly attributed to big hedge and mutual funds (including the companies that provide your 401K, government pensions, as well as speculators in general) increasing the amount of money they invest into commodity markets. Without boring you with jargon, when more money moves into an industry, it pushes the price of that commodity, stock or whatever it may be up (supply and demand 101). Investment into the commodity markets is what took corn from $3 a bushel to $7 a bushel, hence raising the price of your food. Lastly, global demand for food is driving the price or commodities up (again, simple supply and demand…less supply, more demand and vice versa). So, people, as an independent voter (i’m not affiliated with either political party), I can only urge you to read past the political bs. Removing the ethanol mandate will actually cause the price of oil to rise, will stifle investment into alternative fuels, and will ultimately make us more dependent on foreign oil. In my opinion, and its only my opinion, the same guys that are telling you that ethanol is to blame for the poor state of the economy are also the guys that recieve money from the oil companies to keep the facts out of the picture and allow your emotions to make decisions that aren’t legitimate. Please, please, please read between the lines. That’s usually where the truth is.

  • Crawdude

    The ethanol mandates costs the citizens more and does no good. By increaseing the need fill up more often, it has a negative effect on the environment. The after effect is a huge increase in prices of food, this hits the lower income families the worst.

    I’m all for altenative fuels and energy, but only when its advantageous to the country as a whole. Ethanol has proven its self a disadvantage to energy conservation. Increasing the CAFE standard would far exceed anything that ethanol has to offer.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    While one does have to give extreme praise for this measure one also has to take a few issues with the phrase “unintended consequences”

    First – Any idiot knows watering down gasoline with bourbon is foolishness just on the cost basis alone. Brazil makes ethanol work, they can grow sugar cane there and are willing to chop down the rain forest to do it. Ethanol from corn is a much different prospect, and this should have been foreseen. Maybe consulting with one of those dumb southern hicks who hate people who don’t look like them and cling to their guns and religion for about five minutes could have clued the anointed ones into this little fact.

    Second – Lower gas mileage was known. That costs you money. You get angry at oil companies for gas prices? Be angry at those who forced ethanol on you, it amounts to the same thing.

    Third – Engine damage. This was known as well. I’ve suffered my share of it directly due to ethanol and so have many others. The effects of ethanol on engines, especially small engines such as lawn mowers and outboard motors which are run infrequently was well known before hand.

    That a consequence of foolish legislation is unintended is forgivable. That is was unforeseen, in this case due to pure negligence, is not.

    I applaud this effort to reverse the insanity of ethanol. The best way to make up for the negligence of not foreseeing the obvious would be to pass it post haste.

    • Amy

      Rupert, get your facts straight. True enough, you get lower gas mileage using ethanol, but ethanol is priced cheaper than gas (ethanol is currently trading at $2.17 per gallon, gasoline is trading at $2.72 per gallon), and therefore makes up for loss gas mileage. Secondly, not only are we hurt as consumers while crude oil continues to march upward (the only reason crude oil has come down in price at all is due to seasonality…oil/gas always comes down in price after Labor Day!!!), but the people hurt most are small town Americans. By removing the mandate, you take money out of the pockets of farmers, a group that has struggled to break-even for the last ten years, and you keep small towns from getting good, long-standing jobs when these ethanol processors build infrastructure and start a thriving economy in towns that have lost manufacturing jobs to China. So if you can sleep at night knowing that instead of giving money to your small town brethen, you’re sending it to Arabs that would like to wipe us off the face of this planet, that’s your business.

  • Terry Parker

    Finally – representation for the working class and the people of Oregon instead of just for the elitist special interests. Ethanol can reduce fuel mileage up to 30 percent depending on the vehicle used and takes more energy to produce than is derived from the product. Ethanol produced in Oregon is dependent on train loads imported of feed stocks and imported natural gas. This is NOT energy independence for Oregonians. Now if only dictator elect Sam Adams and the Portland City Council will do the same and repeal the citywide ethanol mandate.

  • Jerry

    The whole ethanol thing is the biggest joke ever fostered on the American people. It does nothing to improve our lot in any way whatsoever. People who think it does simply are uneducated. It causes mileage to go DOWN, cost to go UP, tanks and filters to be fouled, water to condense and enter the fuel system, food costs to go UP, food to become scarce, and more.

    The only people really benefitting from ethanol are giant corporations like Archer Daniels Midland, and as a free market kind of guy, I applaud them for their ability to do so. Nothing makes me happier than to see fat cat people rob the poor and get rich off the poor’s stupidity.

    This will continue for a long, long time as ADM funds most politicians. Most politicians are not wise enough to even understand the foibles of ethanol, so they will continue to prop its use up with subsidies and they will continue to cash those contribution checks.

    The cost of stupidity in this country is huge. It is so huge most would not believe it.

    Here is a point of fact. A Model A Ford in 1928 got better mileage than a new, similar size vehicle running on ethanol does in 2008. That is FACT.

    Now, to prove just how much stupidity runs rampant in our country, just watch for some silly littly ninny whine and whine about how great ethanol is…should be somewhere just under this…real soon…I hope.

    Keep on using it peoples – I have stock in ADM!

    Right on, right on, right on.

  • Joanne Rigutto

    ADM used to use the advertising slogan ‘Supermarket to the world’ on it’s commercials. I used to say ‘Superlobbyist to congress’…..

    • Rupert in Springfield

      Yeah, well, when ADM was using that phrase, Bob Dole was called Mr. Ethanol. Back then Senator Dole supposedly played to special interest lobbyist ADM. Thus then ethanol was an evil corporate subsidy.

      Now things are different. Now politicians kow tow to special interest environmental lobbys. The results are the same, the general public gets screwed. The difference is Bob Dole, in playing ball with ADM never suffered from the same moral hubris that seems to infect those that get in bed with the environmentalists.

      Possibly that is what makes it so annoying. Look, take your payoffs, your in kind campaign contributions, your sacks of voters or whatever a particular special interest bestows upon you. Just please don’t ask the rest of to bestow upon you any particular moral authority for doing so. We have enough to do working harder to pay more for the lower gas mileage and expensive engine repair bills because of your foolishness.

    • Mary K.

      You know, the funny thing about your comment is that regardless of if the mandate is there or not, ADM will make money off ethanol. They started producing/selling ethanol in the early 80’s, back when it was called gasohol. But just like now, we saw the crude oil price drop a bit, and threw away all our energy opportunities and got right back in bed with the ones that have controlled everything from our policies to our politics…the Arabs and crude oil. Actually, the people gaining from the ethanol mandates are smaller, new, sometimes farmer owned companies that would eventually be able to compete with ADM and ultimately lower food/energy prices. But, if you want to “pick” a villian and make ethanol responsible for all the ills of the world so be it. 20 years from now, when oil becomes to expensive for the average American to even put gas in their cars, and we start importing ethanol (which is what the administration has said they’d rather do) from Brazil and make their economy strong, we’re going to wish we had kept the ethanol mandate in place. Food for thought (pun-intended).

  • Anon

    These House Republicans just voted FOR this ethanol mandate last year!

    I guess they were FOR it before they were AGAINST it. Sound familiar?

  • Jerry

    Yes, they are all stupid. Both parties. All stupid all the time.

    • Joanne Rigutto

      Jerry, I don’t think they are stupid. I do think that a lot of them are ignorant. There’s a huge difference. Stupid can’t be fixed, ignorance can, it just takes time and effort.

      The big problem is that the legislators, unless they just happen to be well versed in a particular subject already, are fed information by lobbyists that favor one position over another. In the case of ethanol, they are fed info from companies like ADM, organizations that want us off foreign oil and some that want us off fossil fuels altogether. There are people and organizations that see the apparent success of ethanol in Brazil and say ‘they can do that why not us?’. I have to admit that I was one of those people and was all fo ethanol at first.

      But when you look more closely at what happened in Brazil, and even through out the world, in the push for both ethanol and biodiesel, you start to see the horns that biofuel’s halo is caught on. Unfortunately, by the time enough of us find out what’s going on, the legislation is already passed. Then everyone has to back pedal.

      One of the really dangerous things about all of this, is that the big companies like ADM which processes most of the #2 field corn in the USA, couldn’t care less about the environment. They care about making money, it’s not that company’s job to care about anything else. But it’s good PR to make it look like they care, otherwise people wouldn’t favor them as they do in DC and elsewhere.

      On the environmental front, some people, I think, perhaps the majority of activists, really do believe that they are doing good when they support legislation like Oregon’s ethanol mandate. Unfortunately, I think that the activists are being run by people who may have other agendas.

      And I have a really hard time believing that legislators and other officials like the Portland city council, are passing legislation and policy like the ethanol mandates, because they are trying to hurt people. I think that, unfortunately, they honestly do believe that they are helping, which is why it’s so darned hard to fight them, and why they are so persistant in pushing things down our throats that we keep telling them are or will be hurting us.

      Kind of reminds me of a cat I had to give a pill to. I got the pill down the wrong pipe and wound up killing the cat. The whole time the cat was fighting me because he was choking, but I thought he just didn’t like taking pills. I think that’s what’s going on with our legistors a lot of the time. They think they are helping and we’re fighting them because we just don’t like being helped or that we are too ignorant to understand what they are trying to do.

      • Jerry

        Well, you give them a lot more credit that I do. I don’t think they are doing things to help people at all. I think they are doing things to increase their power and lessen ours. Plain and simple. They are ignorant, selfish, power-hungry, and very, very self-serving. I guess not stupid, as you say, because they get away with this stuff all the time and all they ever do is make matters worse.

  • INSIDER

    The bottom line is that House R’s can’t make ethanol a political issue against House D’s if they also voted for this bill. They are trying to do the same thing by complaining about Dems “over-spending”, even though the R’s all voted for those same spending bills.

    The House R’s have bad candidates, no money, and no issues. It’s no wonder they are going to be destroyed in November.

    And then Bruce Hanna will probably be replaced.

    • Rupert in Springfield

      Sure they can, and they seem more than willing to. Just like with oil drilling. Yes, they have voted to support a ban on drilling in the past and have voted for ethanol in the past. That was then, and this is now. It seems some Republicans have realized maybe that was a bad idea. I see no reason in the world why they cant vote to change that. Realizing a mistake and correcting it is fine. Voting to continue a mistake, as the Democrats seem more than willing to do is foolhardy.

      Not a political issue? Hardly. They Republicans will make this a very big political issue and are right to do so. No one likes a politician that is not willing to correct a mistake. If the Democrats want to vote against drilling when something like 70% of the public wants to drill, that’s one hell of a political issue to me. If the Democrats want to vote to support ethanol when more and more people seem to be convinced it was a scam from the get go, good luck!

  • Dean Billing

    This is an election year ploy to make the R’s look like they care about the citizens of Oregon. You notice that they are not proposing to rescind the tax credits that they gave to the ethanol industry. Turns out HB-2210 has no control over ethanol policy, it has been superseded by the federal Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) To understand why, see: https://www.stopeio.com/new_reality.html

    If the R’s want to avoid economic disaster from the federal ethanol policy, they must propose repealing HB-2210 AND exempting all premium unleaded gasoline entering Oregon from ethanol blending. Then they need to get behind a repeal of EISA 2007 and all of the corporate welfare programs given big ag and big oil … then maybe we will find out what our food and energy actually cost. I wonder why the free market never applies to ethanol?

  • Beth

    First, let me qualify my opinion by saying I’ve worked in the Ag industry for the past five years. I’ve worked as a grain merchandiser in rural Illinois buying beans and corn for a processing plant. I’ve worked as a soybean oil and soybean meal salesperson. I’m currently working as a third-party information provider to both suppliers and buyers of commodities and commodity-based products. And on top of it all, I’ve from a metropolitan area in Missouri; so I’ve seen both sides of this argument. Please allow me to give you the facts. I completely understand people’s distress over rising fuel and food costs, but its neccessary you understand how this works. First of all, the run-up in the cost of crude oil has nothing to do with ethanol. In fact, if the mandates were not in place, gas would be $.20 to $.40 more expensive. If you don’t believe me, do the research for yourself as many unbiased organizations has researched this. Second, yes, grain commodity prices are sky high, but it was minimally caused by ethanol. The run-up in corn and soybean prices is more greatly attributed to big hedge and mutual funds (including the companies that provide your 401K, government pensions, as well as speculators in general) increasing the amount of money they invest into commodity markets. Without boring you with jargon, when more money moves into an industry, it pushes the price of that commodity, stock or whatever it may be up (supply and demand 101). Investment into the commodity markets is what took corn from $3 a bushel to $7 a bushel, hence raising the price of your food. Lastly, global demand for food is driving the price or commodities up (again, simple supply and demand…less supply, more demand and vice versa). So, people, as an independent voter (i’m not affiliated with either political party), I can only urge you to read past the political bs. Removing the ethanol mandate will actually cause the price of oil to rise, will stifle investment into alternative fuels, and will ultimately make us more dependent on foreign oil. In my opinion, and its only my opinion, the same guys that are telling you that ethanol is to blame for the poor state of the economy are also the guys that recieve money from the oil companies to keep the facts out of the picture and allow your emotions to make decisions that aren’t legitimate. Please, please, please read between the lines. That’s usually where the truth is.

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