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King Corn cows Washington

Source:  Copyright 2009, Boston Globe
Date:  March 13, 2009
Byline:  Editorial
Original URL: Status ONLINE

PRESIDENT OBAMA has said science on his watch will not be "distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda." But when it comes to the political agenda of agribusiness, his own Cabinet, and his party, are letting science down to prop up corn-based ethanol.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, formerly the governor of the corn state of Iowa, wants "aggressive action" from the Environmental Protection Agency to increase the amount of ethanol in gasoline - from 10 percent of the blend to 15 percent. He has been seconded by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; Senate Agriculture Committee chairman Tom Harkin, also from Iowa; and the Governors Biofuels Coalition, co-chaired by Democrat Chet Culver of Iowa.

All this advocacy is for a substance that is receiving billions of dollars in subsidies already, despite growing evidence of its environmental harm. A year ago, researchers from Princeton, Georgetown, Iowa State, and Woods Hole found that increased production of ...

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