Could we please have a CoI at City Hall?

first_imgDear Editor,When will someone in authority realise that there is a critical need for a Commission of Inquiry to be held into the workings of the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Georgetown?Over the years, there have been so many scandals that most persons have lost count; but how much longer must the citizens of our capital be subjected to having to pay their property rates, market fees, licence fees etc, when the Council’s books are not audited and when there is no system at the Council that tracks and controls their income and expenses?If one were to just look at the Abattoir, one would have to investigate the stun gun fisco, wherein lots of money was spent to purchase captive bolt pistols, most of which were not in accordance with what was required, whilst animals were slaughtered in a brutish way. Then there is the lack of a scalding barrel or tank for boiling water and other basic equipment needed for the slaughtering operation. It is all a disgrace.Just a stone’s throw up the road, as they would say, on Water Street, one encounters the City Constabulary Training School, established not so long ago to impart training to the new entrants of the Constabulary, along with holding other courses, including refresher’ courses. It now appears abandoned and derelict, with a leaky roof, windows and doors missing, and littered with a few old beds and other furniture. What a shame! There should be an investigation into how this building fell into such disrepair in such a short period of time.The condition of the waterfront area of the Stabroek Market, where the roof keeps collapsing and the pier is in precarious state, should be the subject of another investigation. What does the Council do with the stall rents it collects from the Stabroek Market stallholders? Spend it on overseas trips? And why is it awaiting the Central Government to repair the Stabroek Market? Are not the Stabroek Market and its precincts the property of the Council?And that takes us to the dilapidated City Hall building? Listening to officials of the City Council, one would conclude that the maintenance of that beautiful building was not the responsibility of the Council, and that they woke up one morning like Rip Van Winkle to find the building in that state. It is mind-boggling that they would be waiting for foreign missions, Central Government, foreign aid agencies and the local business sector to fund the repairs of their headquarters. If the City Council had been doing routine maintenance of the building each year for the last 25 years — as they should have –the building would have been in a pristine state, and the whopping US$4.3 million bill currently being touted would have been less than half.  As they say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.There are scandals surrounding the Bel Air Park playfield and the Farnum Playground; the new unauthorised building going up where the Kitty Abattoir once stood; the beauticians who were dumped on the Merriman Mall; the purported Presidential Park; the inordinate delay in construction of the Kitty Market; the robberies taking place in the municipal markets; the disappearance of firearms; the brutalisation of juveniles and other citizens by the City Constabulary; the debts to the GRA, the NIS, GPL, GTT and the credit unions, etc;, the feather bedding at the Council, and the lack of an audit of the Council’s financial systems for decades, and so much more.Could we please have a CoI at City Hall?Sincerely,Modi Sankarlast_img read more

Govt takes on completion of D’Urban Park

first_imgWith the recent appointment of the Public Infrastructure Ministry’s role as to take over the D’Urban Park project, the responsibility of funding the venture now lies primarily in the hands of the Government.This was disclosed during the post-Cabinet briefing on Wednesday where Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman, cited that the President has made all indications that Government should now fully take over the project financially.This decision comes one week after several media reports about the shabby works that were being carried out at the multimillion-dollar project.Meanwhile, Trotman said Government is ready to take up complete responsibility of the project, even as it is in the last few phases.The comment was made after the Minister was questioned about the amount of money that Government has deposited into the project since it has been place under the administration of the Public Infrastructure Ministry only recently.This is opposed to the project previously being a Private-Public Partnership where resources acquired for its completion was contributed by munificent organisations or individuals.Trotman disclosed that since the appointment had been made by the Head of State, Minister Patterson along with his technical team, has been engaged in analysing the site to determine the way forward.Even though being the administrator of such a large project can be time consuming, Trotman vouched for Patterson citing that he would not neglect his other duties as Minister.Patterson is scheduled to present to Cabinet during its next meeting, a comprehensive memo on plans for the project.Meanwhile, during a separate meeting, Patterson met with a number of stakeholders that would be included in the project where he was briefed on the ongoing work at the site.During this time, the technical team headed by Patterson also discussed their ground plans on what they are looking forward to doing within the next 21 days.On Tuesday, President Granger had assigned Patterson with the full responsibility of overlooking the development project of the D’urban Park.The President during this time made it clear to the public domain that the Government will be working tirelessly in order to have the facility completed in the nearest time possible, while maintaining quality work so that the safety is assured.Speaking on the appointment as overseer of the project, Patterson cited that the Ministry will be unwavering in fulfilling its given task despite any complications presented.Patterson assured that the Infrastructure Ministry is more than competent of supervising the given project and will do so to the best of its ability so that ultimate quality is achieved.The Minister additionally informed that the Ministry’s engineers and technical team has already visited the location to assess the current state and from this, will determine what needs to done.With the rainy season quickly approaching, Patterson admitted that this may pose some difficulties in terms of the construction work process but nonetheless they will give it their best shot.He gave surety that the project will be completed in the deadline that has been indicated by the Head of State.last_img read more

Another disappointing race for Denny Morrison

first_imgBy Adam ReaburnIt was another disappointing race for Denny Morrison, this time in the 1,500 metre event.Morrison finished with a time of 1:46.93, which put him in 9th place.  Morrison still ended up being the top Canadian with Mathieu Giroux in 14th and Lucas Makowsky in 19th.  – Advertisement -The other surprise in the event saw the current world record holder, Shani Davis finish in second behind Mark Tuitert of the Netherlands.  Davis had a time of 1:46.10 and Tuitert had a time of 1:45.57.  Third went to Havard Bokko of Norway.Morrison still has one more event at the 2010 Olympics, the Men’s Team Pursuit.  The first qualifying runs will happen on Friday at 1:30pm Fort St. John time and the final on Saturday February 27th at 1:30pm.last_img

Bowlers lead Guyana to 3-wicket win over defending champs

first_imgCWI Regional U-17 50-over tournament R3A ruthless bowling exhibition by Guyana saw them to an easy three-wicket win over defending champions Trinidad and Tobago in Saturday’s round of the Cricket West Indies (CWI) Regional U-17 50-over tournament.Pacer Sheldon Charles produced an MVP performance with the ball for Guyana (Zaheer Mohamed photo)It was a low-scoring encounter, which was set up by the Guyanese who ran amok as they routed the champs for a measly 65 just 26.3 overs after Trinidad decided to bat following their winning of the toss at Gilbert Park.It was a combination of spin and pace as the carnage was dished out by all-round seamer and Man-of-the-Match Sheldon Charles, who starred with 3-21 while the slower men, off-spinner Dwain Dick 3-16, Nigel Deodat 2-7 and Nyron Bissu 1-7 played their parts well.Guyana’s skipper Sachin SinghRivaldo Ramlogan and Tariq Mohammed were the top-scorers with 14 apiece, as no other player could manage a significant score. Guyana’s chase was simple but nightmarish for them, reaching 66-7 in 20.4 overs as skipper and opener Sachin Singh stabilised the chase with 21 from 16, featuring a pair of fours and as many sixes.Brilliant spells from the duo Nicholas and Sameer Ali, who bagged 3-30 and 3-15 respectively, almost knocked over Guyana as apart from Singh, no other batsman could reach double figures with Charles the next best scorer with 9.In other matches played in round 3, Leeward Islands defeated Windward Islands by two wickets while Barbados whipped the Jamaicans by four wickets. Teams will now gear up for round 4 today, with Leeward Islands versus Barbados, Guyana playing Jamaica and T&T locking horns with Windward Islands.Leewards lead the points table with 13.2 points, followed by Guyana with 12.9, Barbados is third with 8.0, while Trinidad who are fifth and Windwards who are sixth respectively are currently tied on 7.2 points. The Jamaicans come in last with 1.4 points. (Clifton Ross)last_img read more

Things To Do

first_imgThe Easter Bunny will arrive, 11:30 a.m. today at Westfield Valencia Town Center, 24201 Valencia Blvd., Valencia. Mr. Bunny will be available for photos with children from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays today through April 15. Call (661) 287-9050. Faculty recital will feature Joe LoPiccolo, Polli Chambers-Salazar and Sharon Harmon, 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Center for Performing Arts at College of the Canyons,26455 Rockwell Canyon Road, Valencia. Tickets: $5-$10. Call (661) 362-5304. At the Hop Dance will feature the music of Jimmy Raschel & Longshot, 7:30 p.m. Friday at the SCV Senior Center, 22900 Market St., Newhall. Tickets: $5 at the door. Call (661) 259-9444. “Oklahoma” will be presented, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through April 30 at the Canyon Theatre Guild, 24242 San Fernando Road, Newhall. Tickets: $13-$17 for adults and $10-$13 for students and seniors. Call (661) 799-2702. Family Nature Walk, 11 a.m.-noon, and an animal presentation, 1-2 p.m., every Saturday at Placerita Canyon Park and Nature Center, 19152 Placerita Canyon Road, Newhall. Call (661) 259-7721. “Native American Tales” will be presented, 3 and 6 p.m. Saturday in the Q Theatre at Canyon High School, 19300 W. Nadal, Canyon Country. Tickets: $3-$5. Call (661) 252-6110. Edu-Hoops Celebrity Basketball Game will feature the Court Jesters playing against the Castaic Union School District, 4 p.m. Saturday at Golden Valley High School, 27051 Robert E. Lee Parkway, Canyon Country. Tickets: $10-$22. Proceeds benefit the Castaic Education Foundation. Call i9 Sports at (661) 294-9949 or visit Campfire program for all ages, 6-7 p.m. Saturday at Placerita Canyon Nature Center, 19152 Placerita Canyon Road, Newhall. Call (661) 259-7721. Grateful Dudes perform bluegrass music, 7:30-10:30 p.m. every Saturday at Vincenzo’s, 24504 Lyons Ave., Newhall. Call (661) 259-6733. “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” will be presented, 8 p.m. Saturday at the Center for the Performing Arts at College of the Canyons, 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road, Valencia. Tickets: $25-$50. Call (661) 362-5304. Waterfall hike, 9 a.m.-noon Sunday at Placerita Canyon Nature Center, 19152 Placerita Canyon Road, Newhall. Call (661) 259-7721. Ranger-led nature hike, 11 a.m. the second, third and fourth Sundays of each month at Vasquez Rocks Natural Area, 10700 W. Escondido Canyon Road, Agua Dulce. Call (661) 268-0840. Senior Cinema will present William S. Hart’s last film, “Tumbleweeds,” 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the SCV Senior Center, 22900 Market St., Newhall. Suggested donation: $1. Call (661) 259-9444. Santa Clarita Master Chorale will present “Just Mozart,” 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the Center for the Performing Arts at College of the Canyons, 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road, Valencia. Tickets: $14-$19. Call (661) 254-8886. Placerita Junior High dance show, 7 p.m. Monday-March 30 at the Valencia High Theater, 27801 N. Dickason Drive, Valencia. Call (661) 259-1551. To submit an event for the Things To Do calendar, contact Sharon Cotal two weeks prior to the event at (661) 257-5256, fax her at (661) 257-5262, e-mail her at or write to her at 24800 Avenue Rockefeller, Valencia, CA 91355. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE‘Mame,’ ‘Hello, Dolly!’ composer Jerry Herman dies at 88 Randy Lubas and Rocky Whatule will perform, 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday at J.R.’s Comedy Club located inside Marie Callender’s at 27630 The Old Road, Valencia. Cost: $12 or $22.99 for dinner and the show. Call (661) 259-2291. Divided Highway will perform, 9 p.m. Friday at Howie’s Pub, 31579 Castaic Road, Castaic. Cost: $3 cover charge. Call (661) 295-8755. “Chasing Open Spaces,” an exhibit of oil paintings documenting natural open spaces in and surrounding the Santa Clarita Valley, will be on display Saturday through April 30 at the Canyon Theatre Guild, 24242 San Fernando Road, Newhall. Call Laura Wambsgans at (661) 259-0696. Sierra Club hike to Whitney Canyon Park, 9 a.m. Saturday at the Newhall Park & Ride at the end of San Fernando Road. Call Henry Schultz at (661) 284-5613. Tesoro Adobe Historic Park is open to the public, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. every Saturday with guided tours of the Harry Carey/Farmer John Ranch House, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Call (661) 702-8953. last_img read more


first_imgCharlie Daly & H-Block Martyrs Sinn Féin Cumann DrumkeenLotto Results 25th July 16, 17, 18, 21.No jackpot winner 1match 3 Nos: €100Harry Deasley Drumkeen. Next weeks jackpot €3,225 Tickets from any committee member €2. Go raibh maith agat.St. Mary’s GAABingo continues in the hall on Tues at 9pm. Lotto results two winners with 3 counties CN,KY,TY,DB .Tommy Gallen,Roseleen Houston Convoy Guess the Score sheet result 2 winners shared€50 Steven Sweeney, and Bridget Gallagher well done and a BIG thanksto everyone who supported in anyway.Tyrconnel Martyrs Flute BandThe band will be travelling to the National Hunger Strikers Commemoration this Sun 5th Aug in Dungiven, Co. Derry. We will beleaving @ 10.00 am to attend the Hunger Strike exhibition before thecommemoration. Just a few seats left on the bus. Contact Harry on 0877741054. The cost is €5.00 single or €10.00 for a double or family. “Always a good day out”Band practice as usual in the hall on Tues night @ 7pm.Marian ShrineWe hope to get started on the renovation of the Marian Shrine in earlySept. Anyone with any ideas on what they would like to see done at theshrine, please contact the Drumkeen Notes.Slimming WorldSlimming World Stranorlar, every Tuesday in Kees Hotel, Stranorlar,10am, 12pm, 5.30pm & 7.30pm, all welcome. Contact Catherine 0863962666for further details.FIBROMYALGIA SUPPORT GROUPSStranorlar – 1st Friday of each month (excluding Aug)Millbrae Health Centre 6.30 – 8.30pmContact Jude Bromley 086 3945008 / / JudeFibromyalgia Bromley on FacebookLetterkenny – 1st Wednesday of each month (excluding Aug)St Conals Coffee Dock 7 – 8.30pm(Jude will greet people at front door of St Conals & to givedirections to room!)Contact Jude Bromley 086 3945008 / / JudeFibromyalgia Bromley on FacebookDungloe – 3rd Friday of the month, 7pm-9pm, – Upstairs in 3 GweedoreRoad, Dungloe –Contact number for further information is 0879067573, Anne GillespieSouth West Donegal Fibro Support Group, – 2nd Friday of the month, 7pm – 9pmIn Councillor Campbell’s office, next door to now doc, Main st, Mountcharles.Contact Lulu Pringle 0868390588Inishowen Arthritis & Fibromyalgia Support Group Last Tues of everymonth 7.30 – 9pmDay Unit in Carn HospitalContact Una Farren 0863748676Sligo / Roscommon Fibro Support GroupSecond meeting on 12th July in Spellman’s Motel, Ballaghaderreen, Co.Roscommon, 7.30pmContact Irene Giblin 0876030426Parish HallAnyone wishing to book the hall should contact Charlie Quinn on91/34010 or 087 7728608Birthdays, Anniversaries etc.Is there something happening in the area you think should behighlighted or if anyone would like a birthday or anniversarymentioned in the notes, also any photo’s you would like publishedplease feel free to email them to drumkeennotes@gmail.comDrumkeen NotesAnyone wishing to have material included (Deadline Sun @ 6pm)LOCAL NEWS: DRUMKEEN COMMUNITY NOTES was last modified: July 29th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:LOCAL NEWS: DRUMKEEN COMMUNITY NOTESlast_img read more


first_imgColm McFadden: on scoresheet.Donegal 0-06 Monaghan 0-04Donegal are on course to win their third Ulster Senior Football Championship in four years as they lead Monaghan by two points at half time in this year’s final in Clones.Jim McGuinness’s side have taken the chances that have come their way in what has been, at times, an ill-tempered first half as Donegal seek revenge for the defeat by Monaghan in last year’s final. Karl Lacey put Donegal ahead with an excellent point in the fifth minute and Brian McHugh should have doubled the advantage two minutes later but put his effort wide from a good position.The lead was increased in the 11th minute when good play between McGee and McNaillias ended with the latter putting over an excellent point.Colm McFadden put Donegal further ahead with a free awarded for a foul on Neil McGee before Monaghan got their first score of the game in the 14th minute from a free.Another Monaghan free reduced the deficit to a single point in the 22nd minute but Donegal doubled their lead straight away when following a superb catch Neil Gallagher set up Anthony Thompson to put over the bar. A Colm McFadden free put three between the sides in the 27th minute.Keeper Paul Durcan came to Donegal’s rescue to block an almost certain goal in the 31st minute which resulted in Monaghan successfully converted the resultant 45.McNaillais doubled the advantage in Donegal’s favour on a scoreline with a point in the first minute of injury time at the end of the half.But a Monaghan free in the dying seconds leaves two between the sides at the break.   ULSTER SFC FINAL: DONEGAL LEAD MONAGHAN AT HALF TIME IN CLONES was last modified: July 20th, 2014 by johngerardShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:chamionshipdonegalFootballmonagahanSeniorUlsterlast_img read more

Fall-out continues from Tory Island ferry vote

first_imgThe community group which represents many people on Tory Island has issued a statement in a bid to clarify the circumstances surrounding a vote on the island’s ferry service.The Comharchumann Thoraí Teo held a vote at the Tory Island Day Centre on Saturday last between 1-3.They were asked to do this by Pól O’ Gallchóir who was appointed as mediator between Roinn na Gaeltachta, Comharchumann Thoraí and Realt na Maidne Teo over the ongoing Ferry dispute. The vote was to determine the stance the island residents had with his list of recommendations which has now been approved by Roinn na Gaeltachta.Following a public meeting and a heated debate in the social club on 23/03/18 at 7.00 p.m. it was agreed that the following could vote:• Full time residents on the island.• Mainland residents in possession of a house on the island were entitled to 1 vote per house. • Phone-call votes accepted by island residents provided their identity is confirmed.A statement issued on behalf of Comharchumann Thoraí Teo said that in the chaos of the voting there was a lot of confusion over the mainland vote.A spokesperson said “A lot of people became extremely agitated and insisted on being given a vote which left the committee and the manager in an extremely uncomfortable situation.”An account was kept of all Island resident votes and other votes and the following results were calculated:Islanders votes: Agreeing to Pól Ó Gallchóir’s proposal: 67Disagreeing to Pól Ó Gallchóir’s proposal: 53There was 1 abstention.Other votes: Agreeing to Pól Ó Gallchóir’s proposal: 45Disagreeing to Pól Ó Gallchóir’s proposal: 50The statement adds that it was stated recently on social media that no count was kept of the voters.“This is totally untrue and the totals were tallied at the end and this dispute was resolved.“At the end of the day it is us the permanent residence of Tory Island that will suffer the consequences good or bad going forward.“Therefore, we feel that we should determine our own futures and any future votes should be island residence only.”The statement adds that at the meeting on Friday night it was clearly pointed out that the vote was simply agreeing or disagreeing with Pól O’ Gallchóir’s recommendations.“It was not whether we accepted the Queen Of Aran or not. The Queen of Aran was always coming on the 1st of April no matter which way we voted. There was a general feeling of acceptance at the meeting on Friday night.“There has been a lot of chat on social media saying that the Tory Community were saying yes to the Queen Of Aran and this is untrue.“We simply voted in agreement with the recommendations on Pól O Gallchóir’s report which meant that we have agreed to a second service which means we now have the choice to use the Queen of Aran or the second fast ferry. The no vote would have meant that we would have had no choice but the queen of Aran.”The statement added that the Tory island majority resident votes still stands, and they stand firmly together with the co-op committee and the Manager.“We urge anyone who feels differently about this to re-look at the future of our island and re-visit Pól O’ Gallchóir’s proposal and what we will achieve in accepting it. We pray that this may re-unite our Island Community once again.“We would like to point out that a very small minority of Tory islanders are actually members of the group “Mná Thoraí”. The group mainly consists of people living on the mainland.”The statement is signed by ‘Tory Island permanent residents.’Fall-out continues from Tory Island ferry vote was last modified: March 27th, 2018 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:donegalferrysplitTory Islandvotelast_img read more

Live playoff updates: Sharks beat Avalanche 3-2 as Pavelski returns in Game 7

first_imgGet live NHL Stanley Cup playoff updates, news and analysis during Game 7 of the Sharks’ second-round series against the Avalanche Wednesday at 6 p.m. at SAP Center.San Jose, which was dealt a crushing 4-3 overtime loss in Game 6 on Monday night in Colorado, is hoping to duplicate the Game 7 performance it had in the first round against Vegas. Barclay Goodrow’s overtime goal gave the Sharks a series victory.San Jose will get a huge lift Wednesday with the return of captain Joe …last_img

Corn Ethanol: The Rise and Fall of a Political Force

first_imgA full 30% of American ethanol production came from the state in 2014. If it were a country, Iowa would be the third-largest ethanol producer in the world, surpassing all but the rest of the United States and Brazil.But the roots of corn ethanol’s political clout reach back farther than the George W. Bush presidency. The modern corn ethanol industry first came of age in the 1970s. That decade saw U.S. policymakers focus on energy security as the country was hit by oil embargoes even as its domestic crude production was entering a lengthy decline.Federal tax breaks were implemented in 1978 on gasoline blended to contain 10% ethanol by volume — a fuel then called gasohol. A large tariff was also imposed on ethanol made from sugarcane imported from Brazil. U.S. ethanol production grew rapidly in response but from a small base, and ethanol’s impact on overall gasoline consumption remained low.This situation changed drastically after the turn of the 21st century.In August 2001, Saudi Arabia became America’s largest source of foreign oil. The discovery that the majority of the 9/11 hijackers were citizens of that country once again made energy security a national priority. The Bush administration unveiled several domestic energy initiatives in response, including a hydrogen vehicle program and tax credits for electricity made from renewable sources, such as solar and wind.A larger tax credit for gasohol, which was restyled “E10,” had the most immediate impact of the new initiatives. This credit allowed companies that blend ethanol with gasoline to receive a payment from the IRS for every gallon they blended.The combination of the tax credit and tariff caused ethanol production to increase by 700% between 2001 and 2010.Ethanol production was so profitable that the country’s first ethanol mandate saw its target for 2012 reached four years early.Around that time, there was growing concern that the fuel additive MTBE, which was designed to improve gasoline’s fuel performance but can cause health problems, was leaking from storage tanks and contaminating groundwater. That left corn ethanol, which also improves gasoline’s performance but does not persist in the environment as much as MTBE, as the only remaining fuel additive on the market.Even as corn ethanol spread into more and more filling stations, scientists and watchdog groups questioned its environmental benefits, noting that carbon emissions are not necessary lower than those of gasoline alone and pointing out the significant amount of water and land required for corn ethanol production. Tristan Brown is an assistant professor of energy resource economics at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. This column originally appeared at The Conversation. RELATED ARTICLES The Case Against More EthanolEthanol Under FireEnergy Return on Investment Green Building in the Cheap Energy EraThe End of Peak Oil?Thoughts on the Future of PetroleumGreening My Home: Biodiesel Fueling the ethanol boomIowa achieves the highest corn yields in the world and, following the passage of an energy law in 2005, quickly became the center of a multi-billion dollar industry. Enter the Tea PartyAfter the ethanol industry achieved its first mandated level of production, Congress quickly began work on an expanded mandate. But ultimately, corn ethanol’s rapid success led to its fall from political favor.The year 2007 witnessed three major events that drastically changed the nature of the new biofuel mandate.Democrats took control of Congress in early 2007 after campaigning on a platform that included environmental security. Shortly afterward, an article argued that diverting corn’s calories from stomachs to cars would cause widespread hunger among the world’s poor.That article’s publication coincided with a sharp increase in the prices of corn and other grains, which prompted one UN official to label biofuels “a crime against humanity.” Another analysis conducted during the year concluded that corn ethanol wouldn’t drive food prices permanently higher. However, it also calculated that emissions from biofuels were higher than thought because farmers in the Amazon responded to higher ethanol prices by converting rainforest to farmland.As opposition to corn ethanol grew, Congressional Democrats put a cap on how much corn ethanol could be blended with gasoline, at roughly 10% of gasoline consumption under the expanded mandate.To meet higher volumes of ethanol production, the revised rules called for production of biofuels from non-food sources, such as wood chips or corn stalks and husks. The mandate called for these advanced biofuels to fulfill higher production targets by 2022 despite the fact the industry was non-existent in 2007.Grain prices collapsed in 2008, and subsequent research has determined that Brazilian deforestation fell by 83% after 2004 even as corn ethanol production quadrupled, countering the argument that biofuels in the U.S. would lead to higher deforestation globally. The expanded mandate was already law when these findings became known, however.Ethanol’s political problems were just beginning, though. With the rise of the Republican Party’s pro-austerity Tea Party wing, the blenders’ tax credit and ethanol import tariff were both being discarded by 2011. Tea Party opposition to the Affordable Care Act’s insurance mandate also led to the movement’s opposition to the blending mandate, most recently manifested by Cruz.In 2013 the Tea Party gained a powerful ally in the form of the U.S. refining industry.American refiners, the companies that turn petroleum into gasoline, diesel, and other products, are tasked with implementing the mandate’s blending requirements. Their collective compliance costs exceeded $1 billion in 2013 and remained high in 2014.A large lobbying effort by the refining industry that began in 2013 called the mandate’s political future into question. This uncertainty was not dispelled until late 2015. In that year the EPA established future blending volumes that were higher than the refining industry had wanted but lower than had been originally expected. A no-show for advanced biofuelsDespite the political push-back, the U.S. corn ethanol industry is in no danger of disappearing. Yet its future still might be limited by political and technology constraints.The advanced biofuel from non-food biomass that was to surpass corn ethanol has mostly been a no-show, reaching just 4% of its original blending target in 2015 because of insufficient production. Efficiency gains mean that corn ethanol now achieves fewer greenhouse gas emissions than domestic gasoline.Congressional opposition is too weak to exclude corn ethanol from the country’s biofuel mandate. On the other hand, it is strong enough to prevent corn ethanol’s mandate to expand to fill the place of the missing advanced biofuels.Finally, ethanol’s tendency to damage older engines when used in blends exceeding 10 percent has constrained its ability to surpass current consumption volumes.All of these factors have deflated ethanol’s stature from a decade ago. One need only look at the results of the Iowa Republican Caucus to understand just how much the fuel’s political fortunes have faded. The 2016 presidential primary race is defying conventional wisdom, with erstwhile fringe candidates competitive in the polls despite their unorthodox policy positions. The Iowa Republican Caucus provided additional material for this storyline as Senator Ted Cruz defied projections and won the state.His victory came despite his opposition to subsidies for one of the state’s biggest industries: the production of corn ethanol.Those results would have been unthinkable just a decade ago, when American policymakers wanted to see as much corn ethanol consumed as rapidly as possible.Now, however, more politicians — and voters — question or openly criticize corn ethanol, saying it’s been a boon to Iowa but has provided little in the way of environmental benefits or energy security.last_img read more