ON-Lion Letter
In a late-October paper from the George C. Marshall Institute in Arlington, Va., its chief executive officer William O'Keefe examines federal biofuels policy, concluding that federal subsidies and mandates for ethanol and its derivatives -- notably, cellulosic ethanol -- have failed.

O'Keefe argues in "Biofuel Policy Follies" that federal mandates and monetary supports for biofuels have had little positive impact, but have come at great cost to the American public.  "For almost 30 years, the U.S. pursuit of a biofuels policy to reduce dependence on foreign oil and improve air quality has been a case study in misguided policy and unintended consequences, namely, promoting crony capitalism," according to O'Keefe.

A particularly acute example of policy follow is the decision to mandate specific targets and timetables for use of cellulosic ethanol, he writes.  Energy legislation approved in 2007 mandated the use of 100 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol in 2010, growing to 16 billion gallons in 2022.

"The mandate ... reflects breath-taking ignorance and political hubris," O'Keefe's paper says.  "The notion that government believes it can mandate specific targets and timetables when no facility and no technology existed to achieve any of the mandate's goals is incomprehensible."

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee supports the George C. Marshall Institute.
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