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Ethanol exposure To the editor: US taxpayers, according to DC legislators, desperat

Issue# 148
JUNE 1, 2009



Ethanol exposure To the editor: US taxpayers, according to DC legislators, desperately need to fund another farm subsidy. Must be the reason they want us to use ethanol in our gasoline. Or are there economic and environmental benefits, as they like to believe? More energy than in a gallon of gasoline is needed to grow then process the 26 pounds of corn needed for a gallon of ethanol, so we’re not going to reduce our foreign oil dependence that way. And the energy content of ethanol is 30 percent less than gasoline, so we’re not going to lessen our gasoline consumption. Now, ethanol absorbs any water it can find, so even if most of that water is removed (at great cost!), ethanol cannot be transported by pipelines, or they’ll just be corroded away. Expensive ground transportation has to be used. Can’t that corrosion affect our automobiles if not designed for ethanol fuel? You bet it can. Yet another expense for us, taxpayers. And in certain weathers, the car may not start or continue running as it did on gasoline. A bit of our corn crop is already being used to produce ethanol. So where’s the rest of our corn normally go to? Well, over 90 percent of our animal feed is corn; some is used to manufacture various food and industrial products; the rest of our corn is exported. With prospects of enormous corn-to-ethanol subsidies, the price of corn is spiraling upwards. Costs of groceries are following suit! The prices of beef, chicken, dairy products, bread, cereals, as well as corn oil, industrial alcohol, various beverages – just a few items which spring to mind – have soared recently. They certainly haven’t finished! And corn prices don’t move in a vacuum – just look at everything reliant on wheat, for instance. As for overseas consumptions of our corn, prices have not been kind, there, either. The staple diet of people of many developing nations is corn. They cannot afford our now expensive grain, so … on the humanitarian side, our "ethanol tax" as they call it, is bringing hunger to millions … while on the economic side, our exports are reduced and our negative Balance of Payments is increasing. In economic overview, then, two questions can be asked:

  • If corn ethanol is so economically viable, why are subsidies necessary?
  • With all the risks and hazards of oil recovery at sea, plus allegations of global oil reserves coming to an end, plus environmental criticisms of crude oil fuels, why are oil companies not falling over each other to become corn farmers and ethanol fuel producers? ....And what about the environmental features that are supposed to be so attractive? If more energy is needed to produce a gallon of ethanol than it contains, PLUS ethanol is less energy effective than gasoline in automobiles (meaning more fuel will have to be used), where’s the environmental benefit? Besides an increase in CO2 released by vehicles, reports have been published of increased NOx and ozone emissions, as well as findings of formaldehyde and acetaldehyde (a carcinogen claims California) in exhaust gases from gasohol (gasoline containing ethanol). Add to those problems the consumption of a limited resource-water. To create each gallon of ethanol, more than two gallons of water are needed. And corn is known to enhance soil erosion; the runoff carries fertilizer and pesticide into the country’s streams. In total, corn ethanol appears to be
  • not economically beneficial – to us consumers and taxpayers, nor to our country
  • not energy saving
  • not helpful in reducing oil imports
  • not effective regarding reducing vehicle fuel consumption – or even maintaining engine durability
  • not ecologically or environmentally friendly, So what could be desirable about it? Political image and government subsidies? Politicians and lobbyists do seem to become tipsy at mention of ethanol, don’t they? Desmond Harvey Freelance Writer and Chemical Engineer Mobile

Welsh in Mobile

To the editor: As a resident of Portland, Oregon it concerns me to discover that I know more about the local news in your area than you do. Allow me to fill you in. The Alabama Welsh are campaigning for the restoration of the historical plaque dedicated to Prince Madoc in Mobile Bay. Unfortunately the Alabama Welsh have not raped, murdered or killed anyone but might I suggest the following headline if you feel that the story lacks dramatic impact:- "Alabama State Parks Department Rapes History! Murders Myth and Defiles Legend!!" ( I left some room for additional exclamation marks should they be needed ) Now I am not suggesting that a major international incident will occur as a result of this campaign. It is unlikely that we will see Welsh gunboats (or even coracles) anchored in Mobile Bay any time soon. I do feel, however, that you should contact Janice Gattis or Billy Price of the Alabama Welsh Association and ask them for the inside story. The BBC thought it worthwhile and so did Radio Wales. Ceri Shaw Portland, Oregon

Seattle reaction

To Ashley: I love it! (Hidden Agenda, March 26-April 8) I posted it on my door outside my office so everyone that passes by can read it. Great work. Keep it coming. Brynne Koontz Trial Coordinator Mobile County District Attorney’s Office

To the editor: Rob, regarding your hilarious "Damn the Torpedoes" commentary: I’ll keep taking the "high road" so long as Northrop Grumman continues on the road less traveled that leads to our door_ Rebecca Rossler

Rob: Boeing will lose the appeal, but not because they are incompetent children. You happen to be just like all the other Mobilians, retarded. You said Boeing’s attempt to regain the contract was completely unfounded, spiteful, Hail Mary of a protest. You, my idiot southerner retarded loser, are just now coming into the 21st century. The whole "town" not city, of Mobile, Alabama happens to be a cesspool of degenerate inbred sister (BAD WORD AS ADJECTIVE) who may or may not be the dumbest people on the planet. Seattle has thrived for 50 years and Mobile all of a sudden might pull itself out of the 19th century and you are scared to experience anything that is not like (BAD WORD AS VERB) your mama or sister or cousin. You are pathetic just like all the other losers here. But, for the sake of this fine country and not hillbillies like you, I pray Mobile will change. It seems to be one of the only places left in the country with close-minded (BAD WORD FOR GAY PEOPLE) like you. Oh, and BTW just because Airbus will have the plant here does not mean the money will stay here. The economy will improve in Mobile but Airbus will eventually hurt the economy like so many other foreign firms. You obviously know nothing of economics or our country. You are a close minded retard living in your own little bubble called Ashley’s play world for kids with IQ’s lower than 65. Jeremy Stow

Defending Dean’s contributions

To the editor: I would like to offer a little perspective to the "Field House Controversy." After you sift through all the accusations and finger-pointing, there are actually some facts that are pertinent. First, a building, financed by private citizens, was constructed on property owned by the Mobile County School System. Second, this building, besides housing various athletic activities, also has eight classrooms that are used in the support of the academic curriculum. The only cost to the school system for these classrooms is the utilities bill. Third, the $585,000.00 note does not tell the whole story. Changes were made, to the fire protection systems, after the plans were accepted, and construction begun. These changes, that include an enhanced sprinkler system and additional firewalls, added about $55,000.00 to construction costs. These additional costs were paid by the community. Fourth, numerous in-kind services and material donations were made by members of our community. These included but were not limited to: 1) the Astroturf for the practice field; 2) installation of the same; 3) interior carpentry; and 4) equipment including a weight room that rivals many college facilities and audio-visual equipment. These enhancements conservatively added over $200,000.00 in value. The total indebtedness on an $840,000.00 plus asset, wholly owned by the school system, is now about $200,000. To frame Commissioner Dean’s assistance as bailing out private investors totally misses the point. The structure in question is on the Alma Bryant campus and belongs to the school system, NOT the guarantors on the note. In fact, none of the people on the note even have children at the school and at least one of them is actively supporting Mike Dean’s opponent. This whole thing would never even have become an issue if it wasn’t for the unbelievable devastation visited on our area by Hurricane Katrina. Assets that would have normally been available to retire this debt were needed to rebuild businesses, houses, and put lives back together. Use of discretionary funds to provide eight additional classrooms for our school children, and a state-of-the-art facility that will provide benefits to South Mobile County, seems to me to be not only appropriate but fiscally responsible. Adding county funds to the over $540,000.00 already put up by our community is not a shady bail out but a solid investment in our future and a big help to a cash strapped school system. Pete Barber Vice President South Mobile County Education Foundation

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What should be Mayor-elect Stimpson's top priority?

Examining the budget.
Evaluating city employees.
Addressing public safety issues.
Improving infrastructure.
Free fish plates.

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