It looks like U.S. ethanol supporters backed the wrong horse. The industry is under increasing pressure as the science of energy transformation economics is being dispersed into the general populace, subsidy schemes are under fire and recent Midwest flooding wiped out already price-stressed crops. Texas Gov. Rick Perry recently called on the federal government to suspend or reduce its mandate setting minimum levels of ethanol in the nation's fuel supply. He also plans to ask the EPA to amend the ethanol requirement this year, citing its damaging impact on Texas' economy. Some ethanol producers have already shut down operations or halted new projects, while flooding in Iowa and Illinois has temporarily taken other plants out of commission The whole fiasco reminds this editor of the decade-old government mandate to add MTBE into gasoline. The refiners hollered "bad idea!" and were promptly overruled. Hopefully, regulators will be quicker to respond with the appropriate "whoops" and unwind the noose before further damage is done. From the Book of Common Sense; it's okay to make a mistake, but it's not okay to stay on course to avoid being embarrassed by admitting the mistake.
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