November 13, 2013: Carpe Diem also posted a link to the story, to the Huffington Post:
As I’ve mentioned before, anytime you have Paul Krugman agreeing on “demon ethanol” (his term) with such a diverse group as the Huffington Post (above), the Manhattan Institute, the Wall Street Journal, Reason Magazine, the Cato Institute, Investor’s Business Daily, Rolling Stone Magazine, the Christian Science Monitor, the New York Times, John Stossel, The Ecological Society of America, the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution, the Heritage Foundation, George Will, and Time Magazine, you know that demon ethanol has to be one of the most misguided public policies in U.S. history.
But then a reader pointed out that the "unsaid" story is about "the secret, dirty cost of Obama's green power push" has little to do with "green energy" and everything to do with "the Cronkite tipping point."
Senior citizens will know what I'm talking about.
Lyndon Johnson knew he had lost any support for the Vietnam War he might have had when Walter Cronkite, CBS Evening News, "turned on" the president and the Vietnam War. When Cronkite came out against the Vietnam War, Lyndon Johnson knew it was all over. Johnson withdrew from a re-election bid.
Now, it's Obama's turn.
The AP, a long supporter of the President through numerous scandals, is finally reporting what many already knew:
The consequences [of the ethanol program] are so severe that environmentalists and many scientists have now rejected corn-based ethanol as bad environmental policy. But the Obama administration stands by it, highlighting its benefits to the farming industry rather than any negative impact.There it is. The AP can no longer support the president's ethanol program. Oh, the AP can't come out like Walter Cronkite did, but this is about as close as we will get.
The only question now is whether Congress will rein in the EPA.
Oh, one more thing. This story is being widely reported by the AP. This link is to The Dickinson Press. It's the kind of story I would expect in the Wall Street Journal but not in TDP.
In case the link breaks down the road, here's the lede:
The ethanol era has proven far more damaging to the environment than politicians promised and much worse than the government admits today.
As farmers rushed to find new places to plant corn, they wiped out millions of acres of conservation land, destroyed habitat and polluted water supplies, an Associated Press investigation found.
Five million acres of land set aside for conservation — more than Yellowstone, Everglades and Yosemite National Parks combined — have vanished on Obama's watch. [Talk about hypocrisy: there's a story in the LA Times today that the new Interior Secretary wants the president to use executive orders to carve out more national parks, but she says nothing about the devastation caused by her ethanol program.]
Landowners filled in wetlands. They plowed into pristine prairies, releasing carbon dioxide that had been locked in the soil.
Sprayers pumped out billions of pounds of fertilizer, some of which seeped into drinking water, contaminated rivers and worsened the huge dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico where marine life can't survive.
In North Dakota, for instance, farmers planted 1.9 million more acres of corn last year than they did the year before the ethanol mandate was passed. Nearly 985,000 acres of conservation land were lost.