Hillary Clinton cozied up to Big Corn this week in Iowa, seemingly endorsing America’s corn-based ethanol policy. The Hill reports:
Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner, met with Iowa former secretary of agriculture and lieutenant governor Patty Judge and Bruce Rohwer, director of the Iowa Corn Growers Association, among other Democrats. Judge is also a co-chairwoman of America’s Renewable Future, an ad-hoc group advocating for 2016 presidential contenders to endorse the federal ethanol blending mandate. […]“Secretary Clinton was extremely receptive and I feel encouraged by her comments about the Renewable Fuel Standard,” [Judge] said…“I was able to thank Secretary Clinton for her past support of the RFS and I am confident future conversations will be just as positive,” [Rohwer] said in [a] statement.
Commenters have already highlighted Clinton’s “flip-flop” on the issue of ethanol. Back in 2002 she opposed a watered-down version of today’s ethanol mandates, as the Daily Beast reports:
[I]n 2002, Clinton opposed the mandated use of just two billion gallons of ethanol per year. But a mere five years later, after seeing that she had to go through Iowa — which produces more ethanol than any other state — to return to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, she was advocating the use of 18 times that quantity of biofuel.
On the surface this is yet another story of a politician changing tack to suit his or her campaigning needs, but beneath that is a very serious and very real problem: our nation’s biofuel boondoggle. Because, while Iowa corn growers may be supportive of the government quotas that keep their crops in high demand, nearly every other stakeholder loses out. Devoting corn to the production of biofuels raises global food prices, starving the world’s poor and potentially causing riots. It’s not an efficient fuel source, either, and mandating its use will end up costing American drivers a collective $10 billion this year.Worst of all is that its chief purported qualification as a fuel source—being “green”—is bunk. Studies have shown that not only do corn-based biofuels not decrease emissions, they may actually increase them.But while politicians may once have found it expedient to tout biofuels as an important domestic source of energy, the shale boom is watering down the energy security side to this argument while the aforementioned costs accrue. Given all that, Hillary may want to consider “flip-flopping” once more—she had it right in the first place.