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Governor Corzine: Get Rid of Ethanol

Date : Thu, 14 Aug 2008 12:06:09 -0400

For Immediate Release
Contact: Jeff Tittel August 14, 2008 (609) 558-9100

Governor Corzine: Get Rid of Ethanol

Trenton, NJ - Food and fuel prices have been on the rise in New Jersey and around the world this summer. One of the main reasons for these increases is that farmers are diverting more and more of our nation's fields to grow corn and soybeans for automobiles instead of food for our tables. Ethanol mandates have been a boondoggle, raising the cost of food as well as fuel and causing environmental harm in the process. Therefore, the Sierra Club is calling on Governor Corzine to opt New Jersey out of the federal ethanol mandate.

"At a time when variables out of our control - like flooding in the Midwest, our nation's bread basket - are contributing to high food costs, we should not be adding to the problem with what we can control," said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

According to the USDA, 25 percent of America's corn crop was diverted to produce ethanol in 2007 and 30 to 35 percent of our corn will be diverted in 2008. As a result, corn prices have doubled in the last two years, driving up the cost of basic staples like eggs (69%), milk (22%), beef (10%) and chicken (12%). Wheat prices have increased 400% in the last year, as a result of farmers converting their fields from wheat to corn. The rising cost of food prices are falling most heavily on our state's lower and middle class families, resulting in record demand for anti-hunger programs. The forecast is even worse, studies by the BLS show food increases going up 5 to 8 percent in the next year.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 directs refiners to blend 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol and 1 billion gallons of bio-diesel into the nation's fuel supplies by 2015. Fortunately, Congress recognized that diverting more than 30 percent of our corn crop and our vegetable oils into our fuel supplies could impact food prices and gave states the power to ask the EPA to restructure these mandates. The Sierra Club believes the state of New Jersey should join California in seeking the oxygenate waiver for fuels so that we do not have to replace MTBE with ethanol. This waiver would allow us to reformulate gasoline to meet the same standards without the use of ethanol.

Removing ethanol from fuel may make the fuel more cost effective. Ethanol requires 8 times more energy input than it produces and the output is less valuable than gasoline. It takes a gallon and a quarter of ethanol to equal the same mileage of a gallon of gasoline, and it costs about $6 a gallon.

Ethanol fails for other reasons too. Food-based fuels, particularly ethanol, cause a great deal of environmental harm. Ethanol releases ground level ozone and smog into our atmosphere, affecting air quality and contributing to asthma and other breathing problems.

The production of ethanol and other food-based fuels has led to the destruction of forests around the world, including rainforests, in order to make room for cultivation. Brazil has destroyed more than 5 million acres of rainforest, an area the size of New Jersey, to grow sugar. Indonesia has destroyed 4 million acres, an area the size of Connecticut, for palm oil, threatening the survival of the orangutan, which feeds on palm nuts. Not only does this destroy habitat for threatened and endangered species, it also contributes to global warming by removing carbon-absorbing trees and plants.

"We need to use energy efficiency and truly clean technologies like wind, solar, and geothermal energy to address the our energy and global warming challenges instead of being steered towards false choices, like ethanol, that hurt us more than they help us," concluded Tittel.


Becca Glenn, Program Assistant New Jersey Sierra Club

145 W. Hanover Street Trenton, NJ 08618

609-656-7612: phone

609-656-7618: fax

Received on 2008-08-14 09:10:01

New Jersey Sierra Club, 145 West Hanover St., Trenton, NJ 08618, USA
tel: 609 656 7612, fax 609 656 7618
or email Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator, at

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