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Congress Wakes Up to the Bad News About Biofuels

An Ethanol quality control test
An Ethanol quality control testPhotograph by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

A few weeks ago, Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein of California and Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma introduced legislation to free the fuel industry from requirements to blend their gasoline with ethanol made from corn. Usually the only proposals to attract bipartisan support in Congress are naming post offices or rushed approvals of poorly designed palliatives in the aftermath of a crisis. In this case, the rarely matched senators are tackling a seriously flawed policy which wastes money, harms the environment, and raises food prices worldwide.

Only a few months ago, their parliamentary peers in the European Union voted to rein in similar biofuel legislation across the Atlantic—only to see those efforts stymied by the agriculture lobby. That makes it all the more important that Feinstein and Coburn succeed.