Ten riskiest off-shore oil drilling sites.

ethanol.jpg

An ethanol refinery

In a blazing flash of insight, something called the The Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) listed the Gulf States at the top of its list of most at-risk off-shore oil sites. Said the ethanol front group in a press release:


"The choice is clear," said Global Renewable Fuels Alliance spokesperson, Bliss Baker. " We can continue to put our precious resources at risk by drilling deeper and further out to sea or we can build new biofuels plants that can reduce the need for this dangerous practice," said Mr. Baker. "We can choose clean-ups or clean fuel."

Global ethanol production is expected to hit 85.9 billion litres (22.6 b gallons) in 2010 or about 1 million barrels per day. In 2010 the ethanol industry alone will displace the need for over 370 million barrels of oil. That is the equivalent to replacing 100 offshore rigs that produce 10,000 barrels per day.

You can't blame the biofuels industry for taking every opportunity it can to promote itself. But the press release leaves out a few important facts: the huge subsidies that ethanol requires for its production and the federal mandate that gasoline contain a certain percentage of ethanol--a percentage that the industry is trying to increase. Subsidies for a government mandated product--you can't do much better than that.


It would an interesting study: Even with the BP Gulf Oil leak, which energy product--fossil fuels or biofuels--is more cost-effective and which has more long-term promise? I don't know; maybe someone already has done an independent study. 

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    Chicago Tribune contributing op-ed columnist and author of forthcoming historical novel, "Madness: The War of 1812." Reporter, editor and columnist for Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Daily News. Freelance writer and editor.

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