But since when has the EPA let the law get in the way of what they do? Well, it turns out that they don’t even care much for local, state and national concerns under their jurisdiction: During the droughts last year, ten governors and a coalition of livestock, poultry and dairy farmers asked the EPA to waive the mandate, citing an increase in their feed prices following the combination of the mandate and the weather. The EPA said no to that too. “Our extensive analysis,” an EPA spokeswoman decreed during the sentencing, “makes clear that congressional requirements for a waiver have not been met and that waiving the Renewable Fuel Standard will have little, if any, impact.”
And speaking of impact, the whole point of this folly is to pave the way for a new, greener fuel they imagine might be out there but has yet to be discovered. (And on Jan. 25, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals actually had to rule that the EPA can’t mandate fuels that don’t exist yet.)
But surely these mandates are at least a good influence on Americans’ carbon footprints?
Turns out, only 1 percent of U.S. energy comes from ethanol, and since the ratio required to make ethanol is 1:1 fossil fuels to corn, when all is said and done, the New England Complex Systems Institute calculates that “the amount of fossil fuel saved by ethanol is only about 0.2 percent of the U.S. energy requirements.” This means that for all the regulation, work, spending and adverse effects, the policy is essentially accomplishing nothing it was intended to accomplish. (But it is accomplishing a whole lot of other things.)
So what did we spend on all of these rising prices and security threats? Just over $20 billion since 2005. Yet still, the EPA trucks on. And it’s very likely that the worst is not over: Grain prices — and global food prices — are again beginning to surge again, and, assuredly, governments from Cairo to Guatemala City are threatened with imminent collapse.