Monday, February 28, 2011

Just in

Former President Clinton Concerned About Corn for Ethanol

New York--Former President Clinton, who now works on international development issues through his New York-based foundation, is among those voicing concerns about U.S. corn usage for ethanol production. In a major speech this week at the Agriculture Department’s annual Outlook Forum, Clinton warned that competition for food stocks could impact food prices and spark riots in developing countries. Clinton also said that U.S. farmers should be aware of developing countries’ food needs as well as the domestic ethanol market. He did acknowledge the role ethanol plays in reducing U.S. dependence on imported fuels.

The comments by Clinton sparked strong reactions from U.S. ethanol and corn production organizations. Growth Energy, a trade organization representing biofuel companies, suggested Clinton peruse recent studies such as “Land Availability for Biofuel Production,” published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology in January. According to the organization, the peer-reviewed study demonstrated that biofuel crops grown on already-available farmland could produce up to half of the world’s current fuel consumption—without negatively affecting food crops.

According to Bart Schott, president of the National Corn Growers Association, “Every year, America’s farmers produce more than enough corn to meet all the needs of the expanding markets of feed, fuel and food both in the United States and across the world and the ethanol industry is not an exception.” He also pointed out new reports that show the rising cost of oil, not ethanol production, is a major cause of increased food prices.

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