John Kline -vs- Minnesota Corn Growers Association

“If you’re making gasoline out of corn- you’re not using it to feed people or animals.” – John Kline said during his April 9th TeleTown Hall.
[Note : Be sure to read John Kline’s TeleTown Hall comments on Islamists and a nuclear Iran.]

WOW …. that’s a shift for a guy who likes to promote his Ag blood — “Having helped manage a five-generation family farm in southeastern Minnesota, I recognize and appreciate the challenges faced by Minnesota farmers.”

Gosh does anyone else remember John Kline’s H.R. 349 : 10 by 10 Act ?
The 2007 Kline authored bill would amend “the Clean Air Act to make it unlawful after December 31, 2009, for any person to sell, supply, offer for sale or supply, dispense, transport, or introduce into commerce, for use in any motor vehicle, any gasoline with less than 10% renewable fuel by volume.”

Maybe you remember Representative Kline issuing a press release announcing the legislation — there was a picture of John Kline with representatives of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association ? It has been taken down from his congressional website … after all, who would want to remind his constituents of his previous advocacy but the legislation was written up in the papers at the time … (highlights)

U.S. Rep. John Kline, a Republican from Minnesota’s 2nd District, picked up an issue former congressman Gil Gutknecht lobbied for and sponsored a bill to amend the Clean Air Act and require gasoline to contain 10 percent renewable fuel, such as ethanol, by the year 2010.

“We’re always happy to see any kind of support for our industry,” said Randall Doyal, CEO of Al-Corn in Claremont. “For the renewable fuel industry that’s fabulous.”

Why did he push the legislation … well, of course … money …. during the last election cycle (2013-2014), the Minnesota Corn Growers donated $2,250 to Chairman Kline — although that amount drawfs the monies that Big Oil and Big Coal donated, it represented over 20% of the amounts MCG given to Republican candidates. BTW, First District Congressman Tim Walz did not get a dime.

Representative Kline has no problem taking their money … but how about their “education” …. such as was written on the MinnesotaCORNerstone blog warning farmers that newspapers comments sections about ethanol are full of misinformation and ugliness.

From a commenter named “krykt” who commented:
Let’s get back to growing corn for food not fuel.

The food vs. fuel argument is one ethanol supporters hear all the time. Many people think that by making corn into ethanol, we’re taking food off our plates and increasing prices at the grocery store and in restaurants.
It’s a myth pushed heavily by Big Oil and large food corporations. Big Oil wants to get ethanol off the market because it cuts into its giant profits and weakens their monopoly on the transportation fuels market. Food corporations want cheap corn so they can increase profits by reducing what they spend on inputs.
Fact is, farmers grow more than enough corn to both feed the world population and fuel our vehicles. It’s high oil prices and Wall Street speculators driving up food prices, not ethanol. See this study from the World Bank or this one from Oak Ridge National Laboratory if you don’t want to take our word for it.

The blog goes on …

ethanol is a major step forward from gasoline when it comes to impact on the environment. Ethanol produces 2.3 units of energy for every unit invested and greatly reduces greenhouse gas emissions when compared to gasoline. Water usage in the ethanol process has declined rapidly in recent years and is expected to keep coming down as technology improves.
Second, ethanol has been great for the economy — both overall and for consumers’ pocket books. Because ethanol costs less than gasoline, it saves Americans about $1.09 per gallon at the pump. E15 is even less expensive with no noticeable decrease in mileage.
According to the Renewable Fuels Association, ethanol is directly responsible for 87,000 U.S. jobs and indirectly responsible for an additional 295,000 jobs. Ethanol also adds $43.4 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product.
Third, ethanol is definitely sustainable. Farmers are growing more corn on less land and using fewer inputs like fertilizers and pesticides than ever before. Unlike oil, corn is a renewable resource that we can grow right here in Minnesota and throughout the United States. No need to import it from countries that don’t really like us, or drill for it in the Alberta Tar Sands.
Finally, it’s not just “lobbysts” and farmers who benefit from ethanol. We all enjoy the benefits of a fuel that is homegrown, reduces the price of gasoline, creates jobs, builds rural economies and creates a competitive transportation fuels marketplace. The only people “getting the shaft” are folks like Mr. or Mrs. whatzit who refuse to look beyond the myths surrounding ethanol created by Big Oil and other renewable fuels detractors.

OK … so maybe John Kline doesn’t read blogs … but surely he must read The Hill … but maybe he missed Tim Walz’s OpEd who wrote about efforts by the American Petroleum Institute and House Republicans to repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard. The RFS guarantees a market for producers of conventional ethanol, largely corn-based fuel.

Opponents of the RFS would like you to believe that the program was crafted by narrow special interests, designed to increase food prices and corrode your car engine. These claims are false, and I would like to set the record straight.

Opposition to the RFS is led by the same interests that have a bottom line impacted by decreased fossil fuel consumption. The opposition likes to argue that the RFS is responsible for increases in livestock feed prices, corn prices and food prices. This is a blatantly false claim. Regardless of the fact that only 17.5 percent of the corn crop actually goes toward creating biofuels, a 2013 World Bank study found that the main cause of increased global food prices is rising energy costs, not the use of corn to produce ethanol. Furthermore, only the starch of the corn is required for biofuel production and, once it is acquired, the protein, fiber and oil of the corn are all returned and made into animal feed supply.

Lastly, the price of corn is dropping, not rising. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is projecting the average 2014/2015 price of corn at $3.50 per bushel, a 21 percent drop from 2013/2014 and a 49 percent drop from 2012/2013. So while the cost of corn drops exponentially, opponents of the RFS still blame the standard for increasing the cost of corn. It makes no sense.

The RFS is working to create jobs, reinvigorate local economies and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. We need to be sure to keep it that way. That is why I oppose any short-sighted attempts to reduce or eliminate this important, all-American energy promoting program.

Too bad that John Kline has an aversion to appearing at FarmFest events as there could be a great debate …
John Kline fostering the myths promoted by Big Oil and the large food industries …
versus …
Minnesota Corn Growers and Tim Walz as the mythbusters.

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