Only after the last tree has been cut down.  Only after the last river has been poisoned.  Only after the last fish has been caught.  Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.

"When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically. In this context the proponent of an activity, rather than the public, should bear the burden of proof." - Wingspread Statement of the Precautionary Principle.

Ethanol Subsidies A Misguided Policy, Says NFU:

SWAN RIVER, Manitoba - The federal government’s decision to put $78 million in taxpayers’ money into construction of new ethanol plants is misguided public policy, according to Kenneth Sigurdson, Manitoba Coordinator of the National Farmers Union (NFU).

Sigurdson said the funds announced last week by the federal government are in addition to massive subsidies already being funneled towards ethanol manufacturing. He questioned the wisdom of pouring more government money into the ethanol industry, which “is already on long-term life support” from the public treasury. Citing recent reports which prove the ethanol production cycle is harmful to the environment and wasteful of fossil fuel resources, Sigurdson said it also does not help farmers.

Sigurdson revealed information from a recently-released report by Dr. Mark Delucchi of the University of California at Davis, which concludes that corn-based fuels (ethanol) emit more CO2 than gasoline or diesel. Dr. Delucchi’s investigation, using a “Life Cycle Emissions Model”, represents some of the most comprehensive work done on this question so far. At the release of his report in January, 2004, Delucchi stated that the most significant changes regarding CO2 equivalency factors, the lifecycle of materials, and biofuels indicate “that soy and corn-based fuels look worse than gasoline and diesel.”

Sigurdson stated that “Delucchi’s work confirms a comprehensive corn ethanol report and analysis (June 4, 2003) by Dr. Tad Patzek of the University of California at Berkeley.” That study concluded: “It is shown here that one burns 1 gallon of gasoline equivalent as ethanol from corn. Then this ethanol is burned as a gasoline additive or fuel. Burning the same amount of fuel twice to drive a car once is equivalent to halving the fuel efficiency of those cars that burn corn ethanol, and will cause manifold damage to air, surface water, soil and aquifers.”

While governments often promote ethanol plants as a market for grain, Sigurdson said these plants actually help depress grain prices. “A report by Agricultural Economists Kraft and Rude of the University of Manitoba indicates the likely raw ingredient for ethanol production in Manitoba would be subsidized US corn. Ethanol plants require cheap grain. The $3 per bushel in subsidies that the Manitoba government and federal government provide ethanol manufacturers would be better spent in supporting farmers directly,” Sigurdson explained.

“There is a huge subsidy for the 30 to 35 people employed in an 80 million litre ethanol plant,” he stated. “A subsidy of $700,000 per job per year would indicate this is a very expensive form of job creation.”

Sigurdson questioned the so-called environmental advantages of ethanol, citing a 1999 National Research Council report which said the reactivity of the combined exhaust and evaporative emissions using ethanol-blended reformulated gasoline is estimated to be 17% larger than using MTBE-blended reformulated gasoline. “When burned in your car, ethanol emits more nitrogen oxides, acetaldehyde, and peroxy-acetyl-nitrate (PAN)," he said. Ethanol is wasteful of precious fossil fuel resources, is harmful to the environment, requires farmers to provide cheap grain to ethanol plants, and is a huge waste of taxpayers’ dollars.”

He concluded that subsidizing ethanol production and ethanol plant construction is not consistent with good public policy, and should be immediately terminated.