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Creators of music like the Meow Mix jingle and the Barney theme song have filed a Freedom of Information Act request to determine if their songs were used during interrogations at Guantanamo. The way I see it, given the choice between hearing the Barney theme and waterboarding, the terrorists would pick the latter every time!However, if the CIA wants a less controversial but more torturous technique, I’ve got it -- make the terrorists read the latest decision from EPA regarding the E15 debacle. EPA has decided . . . not to decide! Instead of making the obvious correct decision to just say “no” to a petition to increase ethanol in gasoline from 10 percent (E10) to 15 percent (E15), they’ve announced a “delay.” Worse, they’re indicating they might decide by next summer to approve a scheme that would allow E15 for newer cars! In other words, a split system.

Good grief! I can see it now. . . arguments at the gas station over which vehicle should go to which pump . . . suspicion at the marina over whether the gas supplier has brought straight gas, E10, E15 or who-knows-what. The EPA seems to acknowledge such potential confusion but says it’s working on labelling ideas. Oh, joy -- the popping sound you’re now hearing is my eyes rolling back in my head!

But what really makes this torture is the fact that we shouldn’t be talking about it at all. Enter retired general Wesley Clark, the lobbyist for the ethanol producers. He claims approving E15 “will create 136,000 new U.S. jobs, cut greenhouse gas emissions and lessen America's dependence on imported oil.” What Clark should be saying is he wants EPA to simply boost the money being made by the ethanol producers. That’s what this is really all about. In fact, Clark is even calling on his industry to invest in more ethanol plants in anticipation of an increase to E15.

As to the claim of reducing America’s dependency on foreign oil, I say let’s do it. Not by increasing ethanol, but by accessing more of our own oil. We’ve got it. Those who claim it’s becoming scarce – environmentalists who love the sound of “scarcity” – are like the Bureau of Mines who said U.S. oil reserves would be exhausted by 1924! Or, like former President Jimmy Carter who, in 1977, dazzled us with his claim that we “could use up all the proven reserves of oil in the entire world by the end of the next decade!” Since then, the world has consumed three times more oil than was in those proven reserves.

Today, our reserves in ANWR and the recently discovered reserves by BP in the Gulf of Mexico can keep up with our demand for decades to come. Our Canadian neighbors may well have more oil (in oil sands) than Saudi Arabia. And, technologies today allow us to find and extract oil and gas reserves in deeper water than ever before.

What’s needed today is more smarts when it comes to energy policies and investments. Ethanol is clearly not a smart play and never has been for a host of reasons. But, in the absence of smarts, we’ll have to continue the battle at EPA over E15 with the ethanol producers. NMMA’s lobbyist Mat Dunn, MRAA’s lobbyist Larry Innis and many of you who responded to this issue by emailing or calling EPA and/or your Congressional representatives, have succeeded is getting EPA to hold off on the decision for the moment. But the fight’s not over, it’s just heating up.


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