MN Auditor: Pull the Plug on Ethanol Subsidies
The office of the legislative auditor released a report Friday urging the Minnesota Legislature to end producer payment programs for corn-based ethanol. It further recommends ending use of the Job Opportunity Building Zones program for assisting with the construction of new corn-based ethanol plants.
The auditor's report finds that while corn-based ethanol and soy biodiesel reduce dependence on fossil fuels, the land resources required to produce them constrain their economic benefit.
According to the report summary, "To achieve nationwide use of E20 and B5 by 2020 would require about two-thirds of all land planted with corn in 2008 and slightly more than half of all the land planted with soybeans."
With the rising cost of food prices and demand, the auditor's office believes biofuels need to be more efficient than corn-based ethanol and soy-based biodiesel has proven to be.
Also controversial is the fact that "In the past five years, the state has awarded $93 million to privately run Minnesota ethanol operations, which together had $619 million in profits."