Rep. Peter Welch admits government’s ‘well-intentioned flop’ on ethanol

By Rob Roper

Vermont Democratic Congressman Peter Welch has been an advocate of doing away with ethanol subsidies for a while. As the program’s serious failures mount, Welch is gaining some allies, and there is actually a possibility that the subsidies will be phased out. Here’s what he recently had to say on the subject:

We’ve now had more than a decade of experience with [ethanol subsidies], and it had the best of intentions. But it has turned out to be a well-intended flop.

It actually doesn’t cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, it expands them. It’s had a significant impact on overplanting in fragile areas of the corn belt. It has had significant impacts on small engines. And it’s also had a significant impact on feed prices … and there is a lot of evidence it has increased the cost of food. (Source: Red State)

What a refreshing admission from a politician. Our meddling actually made matters worse in pretty much every respect, and we should just stop.

Now, if only Welch and his colleagues would come to similar revelations regarding their actions in, say, healthcare reform, where government intervention (very well intentioned) has led to higher insurance costs, longer wait times to access care and an opioid crisis. Or in regard to their “help” with access to higher education, which has caused the price of a college degree to explode while the value of those degrees, in many cases, has declined. Or government’s approach to welfare, which has destroyed the black family in America and is now corroding other demographic groups.

The list is almost endless. But ethanol policy is a start.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Public domain

16 thoughts on “Rep. Peter Welch admits government’s ‘well-intentioned flop’ on ethanol

  1. This ethanol business has been know for over 10 years. I agree with Welch although he is waaay late on calling ethanol out.

  2. Peter Welch admits to something that was obvious to national and international energy systems analysts about 15 years ago?

    The USDA, a conflicted party, “managing” the program was wrong from day one, but that is how Senator Grassley, IOWA (a corn-growing state) wanted it.
    If I know that, why does Peter Welch know that?

    The Europeans were laughing about 20 years ago when the US started that corn to ethanol program.

    They claimed it would produce MORE CO2/mile than burning gasoline. It turned out, they were right.

    The Senate, on purpose, had the USDA administer the program.

    USDA devised its own, farmer-friendly, method to “prove” CO2 was reduced.

    Many US investigators objected, but were not able to fight “City Hall”, i.e., Sen. Grassley (Iowa) and others.

    The USDA and its contorted, ad hoc, method of analysis (at variance with standard practice by chemical engineers), has been deservedly debunked.

    Trump gets a lot of farmer votes, so he likely would not reform that program.

    Here is an article I wrote some years ago showing the corn to ethanol program is a total farce.

    1) It produces EXPENSIVE ethanol that has to be subsidized so it can be sold to refineries that use it for blending with gasoline to produce E10 (10% ethanol/90% gas), the fuel almost ALL of us burn in cars.

    2) The A-Z process (cornfield to gas tank) produces MORE CO2/mile than burning gasoline.

    3) This whole corn joke, perpetrated by Senator Grassley, etc., on the US people, is costing the US, i.e., us taxpayers, many billions of dollars EACH YEAR.

  3. Talk is cheap. The admission of a wrongful policy is a start, but what are you going to do about it Mr. Welch?
    Many of us have complained for years that this was a boondoggle policy. But the same people who voted and passed this crap keep getting elected because they deflect to their wonderful advocacy for the elderly and vets. Our reps are useless in the fight against corn/ethanol subsidies because the don’t have the clout nor cahones to take on the agricultural lobbyists.

  4. Another few examples why we should keep government lean. What was admitted today I think has been suspected by many of us for years but no one listened….

  5. Then Rep. Welch and his fellow travelers want Americans to buy in to a carbon tax scam,giving up our natural/civil rights and trust in government ,they have time and time again historically,proven them selves Untrustworthy.

  6. I grant you that it is refreshing to hear this admission of messing up, but we shouldn’t get giddy about it and give him too many pats on the back. He and his party get it wrong and hurt us all in most of what they do and even in things they don’t do. Vermont is first in many things. The one I would like to see us be first in New England on, is to throw off the strangle-hold liberal-progressives have on our state.

    • I couldn’t agree more. The top tier of our Vermont legislature is controlled by progressives who have come to Vermont from New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut. They are either ego driven or second class citizens who couldn’t make the grade in the states that they escaped from. They are here to save us by forcing their progressive ideology on us and that is to control every aspect of our lives and whatever money they can take from you for their grand social engineering design. How much more evidence do the voters of this state need to see that they represent their progressive ideology and could care less about average Vermonters. All I can say is God help us to wake the people up as to the destruction that has been brought to Vermont by these out of state liberal/progressives. They walk by the statute of Ethan Allen when they enter the State House. I doubt that they recognize or understand who he was and is to the history of Vermont. If he could talk he would express his distrust and disgust for those who take an oath to defend our US and State Constitution then move on to steal our natural rights and infringe on every aspect of our lives through control and intimidation. We need a leader to show us the way out of this mess. I was hoping we elected one but life is a series of big and small disappointments. Unfortunately for me the line between the Republican Governor and the Progressive legislature has turned purple. The red and blue has merged into one party rule with no leadership for the people who elected a governor to put a halt to the progressive in Montpelier. So this is another one of my big life’s disappointments. After 68 years of life in Vermont I’m actually thinking of leaving like many others.

      • “After 68 years of life in Vermont I’m actually thinking of leaving like many others.”

        Only way those folks will learn is if you vote with your feet.

        Come down south, as long as you’re conservative we don’t mind yankees 🙂 The rest of them can enjoy the “utopia” they’ve made for themselves. Especially when they run out of YOUR money.

  7. Unfortunately Welsh comes from Vermont and not from Kansas or Nebraska. Ethanol is a rip off and a political football. Years ago while driving through Nebraska, we filled up with ethanol gas. At the next gas stop, we found that our m/g was about 20% lower than we got with ethanol.

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