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Published September 03, 2010, 12:00 AM

Attack on ethanol production was filled with misinformation

The writer of a recent letter attacking American-made ethanol is badly misinformed.

By: Jeff Zueger , Underwood, N.D.

The writer of a recent letter attacking American-made ethanol is badly misinformed.

The first false attack is that ethanol production is somehow responsible for deforestation in Brazil. If this discredited theory were accurate, you would think that as ethanol production increased so, too, would deforestation. However, the opposite is true. Even as American ethanol production skyrocketed a few years ago, rain forest destruction has decreased.

It’s bad enough that the theory tries to blame Midwest farmers for actions taken across the globe; it also doesn’t pass the science test.

The letter writer also forwards the attack that ethanol is responsible for increased food prices. Wrong again. The World Bank, a previous ethanol critic, released a report in July that found that biofuels have little impact on the food price increases of 2007-08. The truth is that American farmers are growing more corn than ever before and doing so on less land. We have the grain to provide the food, feed and fuel we need here at home and around the globe.

Finally, while the government does provide a tax credit for ethanol use, this credit goes directly to the blender of the fuel, which the majority of the time is a petroleum refiner. The government also provides subsidies to every other segment of the energy industry. So, if we are going to have a discussion on subsidies, we need to make sure fair comparisons are made.

The truth is, ethanol is a clean-burning fuel that is good for our environment and creates jobs here in North Dakota and across the country. We need to look for ways to grow the industry and put an end to the misinformation some like to spread about America’s fuel – ethanol.

Zueger is chairman of the North Dakota Ethanol Council.