As food prices soar, and international experts as well as media members call for action, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), the ranking Republican on the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, took to the Senate floor Tuesday calling for a Congressional review of biofuel policy, and for the Environmental Protection Agency to waive the current ethanol mandates.
Coincidentally, this occurred minutes after President Bush told reporters that he believes ethanol and biofuels are key to solving the nation's long-term energy problems.
With that in mind, given the amount of press coverage biofuels have been given in the past few weeks, it will be interesting to see which side of this story media will report this evening and in the days to come.
After all, what Inhofe called for today was for Congress to "revisit the recently enacted biofuel mandate," and for the EPA to exercise its waiver provision granted in the 2007 Energy Bill "that offers protection to consumers if corn prices or availability become unsustainable."
What follows is the full prepared text of Inhofe's speech (fvideo embedded upper-right):
In the past couple of weeks, NewsBusters has reported the media's sudden negative opinion of ethanol as a result of rising food prices and rationing of rice by certain retailors.
You can now add NBC to the list, and, in particular, the host of CNBC's "Mad Money," Jim Cramer, who on Friday's "Today" show actually blamed ethanol for the current crisis while stating emphatically, "You drop the mandate, prices plummet."
With this in mind, strap your seatbelt tightly across your waist, and prepare yourself for an alternate ungreen reality (video embedded upper right, use scroll bars to properly center):
Not surprisingly, the man who cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate fourteen years ago mandating the use of ethanol wasn't available, and a spokesman for his hysteria-driving Alliance for Climate Protection declined to comment.
Isn't that convenient?
Regardless, the good news is that press outlets continue to recognize this unholy connection, and that someone, even at the conservative New York Sun, would deign to report it (emphasis added throughout):
As food prices soar, and rationing of such things as rice begin, America's media are finally starting to wake up to the inconvenient truth that ethanol is not the energy panacea folks like Nobel Laureate Al Gore proclaim.
Leading the charge is conservative talk radio host Glenn Beck, who invited the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Iain Murray on his program Tuesday to discuss the looming crisis.
What follows is a partial transcript of this interview provided by the Science and Public Policy Institute:
In case you hadn't heard, the world is running scared about the world running out of rice.
As a result, here in America, various food retailers have actually begun rationing the amount of the white stuff consumers are allowed to buy.
Deliciously -- pun definitely intended -- the CEO of the nation's leading warehouse club, Costco's James Sinegal, blamed a lot of the problem on the media.
As marvelously reported by Reuters Wednesday (emphasis added throughout):
As the international disaster of ethanol begins taking its toll on the planet -- and, maybe more important, as press outlet after press outlet finally begins recognizing it -- will media remember that Vice President Al Gore cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate requiring this oxygenate be added to gasoline?
After all, regardless of recent reports blaming ethanol for world hunger problems, rising food costs, and increased greenhouse gases, it seems highly unlikely green media will want to tie any of these problems to Nobel Laureate Gore.
Yet, as inconveniently reported by States News Service on August 3, 1994 (no link available, emphasis added throughout):
ABC’s April 11 “World News with Charles Gibson” is showing they finally get it – ethanol production and high energy costs are causing food shortages worldwide.
“[P]rices are rising across
“Those biofuels are in fact a large part of the equation,” ABC correspondent David Muir added. “Many farmers around the world, who once grew wheat and rice, now grow corn and sugar cane instead, to produce ethanol a more lucrative market.”
For years, NewsBusters has reported on Al Gore's financial interests in advancing global warming hysteria around the world.
On March 1, while speaking at the TED Conference in Monterey, California, the Nobel Laureate admitted to having "a stake" in a number of green "investments" that he recommended attendees put money in rather than "sub-prime carbon assets" like "tar sands" and "shale oil."
This occurred as pictures of such products appeared on the screen with names of the companies involved (video available here, relevant section begins at minute 15:00, h/t NBer Sick-and-Tired):
You're going to need a few extra bucks to pay for those corn flakes every morning.
CNN's senior business correspondent Ali Velshi let viewers in on an underreported fact about rising commodities prices: the government mandate for ethanol production is making corn and other agricultural products more expensive-making inflation a top priority for Americans.
"Several years ago, we made some decisions about how corn is going to be used to make ethanol, which is added to our gasoline," said Velshi on "American Morning" April 4. "A number of people think that that was meant to reduce our dependency on crude oil. What is does is it takes what is fundamentally a food source and makes it into a gasoline source. That's caused corn to go up."
They're starting to get it. The media are figuring out government meddling in U.S. energy policy is taking a toll on the American economy.
On February 20, the Labor Department reported that the Consumer Price Index (CPI), a key inflation reading, rose 0.4 percent in January, matching December's rise. Why? Increased food costs because corn is being used for ethanol.
"Farmers are replacing wheat fields with corn to meet the demand for alternative fuel, but that means higher flour prices - and in one Pennsylvania pizza shop, more expensive pies," NBC News correspondent Chris Jansing said on the February 27 "NBC Nightly News."
The eco-love affair Washington has with biofuels is starting to take a toll on the fragile U.S. economy. It's a shame no one in the media have that connection.
"World News with Charles Gibson" explained on February 20 that biofuels are driving up food prices, which is driving up inflation. The Consumer Price Index (CPI), a key inflation reading, rose 0.4 percent in January according to the Labor Department, matching December's rise.
"Blame it on the price of wheat," said ABC correspondent Sharon Alfonsi. "Demand for alternative energy has farmers planting less wheat and more corn - the key ingredient of ethanol. Add the growing appetite for wheat from developing countries and the supply is strained.