Obama and biofuels: Love me, love me not

Mixed signals emerge from the White House on the pros and cons of corn-based ethanol.

Published May 6, 2009 6:02PM (EDT)

I wanted to understand how the Department of Energy's decision to grant $786 million for biofuels research, along with White House efforts to boost corn-based ethanol and the creation of an "Biofuels Interagency Working Group," made sense in the context of the Environmental Protection Agency's finding that biofuels -- especially corn-based ethanol -- can be significant producers of greenhouse gases. I intended to spend a few hours trying to figure out what it all meant.

And then I read Tom Philpott's distillation of the issues in Grist. And he nails it better than I could have if I had spent a week working on the post. So if you're interested in the emerging White House stance on biofuels, now you know where to go.

Short and sweet: Even though the EPA is acknowledging that corn-based ethanol production isn't going to help fight climate change and will probably generate increased greenhouse gas emissions, that's not going to undermine current mandates calling for the production of 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol a year.

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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