Letter: Listen to farmers, not oil lobbyists

From: Kris Tom


The Republic recently published a letter from oil lobbyist Maureen Ferguson attacking Indiana farmers and ethanol producers. I’m a farmer, and I want you to know the oil lobby is flawed in its arguments.

Her claims that corn used for ethanol increases the cost of food has been proven false. Food is cheaper. Corn prices have dropped over the last 10 years, leading to significant decreases in net farm income. Corn is down from $4.20 in 2007. Many farmers are having a hard time making ends meet. That’s part of the reason why farmers are working hard to remind lawmakers why oil industry efforts to eliminate the market for biofuels could spark the worst rural recession since the Great Depression.

Oil companies claim ethanol damages car engines. Actually, 15 percent ethanol blends save drivers 5 to 10 cents per gallon and reduce the amount petroleum oil companies sell. It’s pretty simple: they just don’t want competition. The Department of Energy tested 86 cars for 120,000 miles and found “no statistically significant loss of vehicle performance.” The EPA approves E15 for all passenger vehicles built since 2001. E15 is higher octane, lower cost and cleaner air; it’s quickly gaining popularity among consumers in 29 states and counting.

The Renewable Fuel Standard helps to grow rural economies. It creates jobs, direct and indirect capital investments, and increases local tax bases for schools and other local government infrastructure. Ethanol saves consumers at the pump, making it easier to buy new vehicles. That helps the GM assembly plant in Fort Wayne, the Subaru plant in Lafayette and the Honda plant in Greensburg. These are real jobs and real benefits to Indiana families.

The RFS is directly responsible for cutting greenhouse gas emissions because it burns cleaner than oil. And ethanol makes gasoline cheaper. It’s a win-win for our state and for farmers. Indiana farmers and the biofuels industry are saving consumers at the pump, providing higher octane at a lower cost, all while lowering tail pipe emissions.

I know oil lobbyists don’t support farmers. I’m glad Hoosiers do.