Letter from Langdon: Dead Dinosaurs

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed lowering the renewable fuel standard (RFS) for 2014. The change threatens to undo the progress we’ve made in decreasing dependence on foreign oil and slowing the emission of carbon dioxide, says Richard Oswald.

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Passage of the autumnal equinox near the end of September used to mean approaching winter and an end to tumultuous summer weather. This year in 2013, on November 18, nearly two months after the equinox, devastating storms hit the eastern Corn Belt causing massive property damage costing the lives of six people.  

Destructive contra-seasonal storms like these have become more common. 

Should we be concerned?

Many scientists point to increased turbulence in the atmosphere caused by rising amounts of carbon dioxide, and warmer temperatures. The presence of more CO2 is thought to be a result of both developed and developing nations’ reliance on fossil-fuel coal and oil. 

Burning fossil fuels returns carbon to the air millions of years after prehistoric organisms sequestered CO2 deep beneath the earth’s crust, buried there by their own ancient cataclysms.

Those organisms became sources of energy.   

In other words, we’re burning dead dinosaurs.  

Burning them returns the earth to less stable times.

The renewable fuel standard (RFS) is meant to replace ancient dinosaurs and caramelized jungles they frequented with clean-burning ethanol made from today’s CO2, instead of yesterday’s. 

The whole point of the RFS and the progress we’ve made to date has been to keep carbon buried deep inside the earth by recycling carbon in the atmosphere.  

That’s what renewable fuels do.

Since the renewable fuel standard was established, oil prices have stabilized and America no longer relies so heavily on foreign sources of energy, like oil from the Middle East. Instead we’ve used corn, soybeans and even animal fat to fuel our vehicles and add industrial might to the job-challenged rural Midwest. 

Everything we use to meet the RFS is replaced each year with another new crop.

New Environmental Protection Agency rules reducing required ethanol blends threaten to derail renewable energy and bring back dead dinosaurs as our most important fuel source. 

EPA is wrong. RFS is right.

Dead dinosaurs should RIP.

Richard Oswald, a fifth generation farmer, lives in Langdon, Missouri, and is president of the Missouri Farmers Union.

 

 

Topics: Ag and Trade
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