Herald Journal Columns
Jan. 9, 2006, Herald Journal

Ethanol means convenience


Southwest Minnesota is too dry to support ethanol production plants, experts are saying. Glaciers didn’t push far enough south leaving sand and gravel to hold ground water there.

Even though the state has nearly 15,000 lakes, the ethanol naysayers are touting southwest Minnesota’s lack of water as an insurmountable obstacle. It takes large quantities of water to process corn into ethanol. Because many of the state’s corn growers live in southwest Minnesota, they won’t be able to have an ethanol plant nearby, the naysayers claim.


Corn growers will have to create an infrastructure to transport corn to the ethanol production plants the same way oil companies transport crude to refineries. Oil companies would love to build refineries right next to their wells, but it isn’t always realistic, especially on an off-shore rig in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico.

Ethanol production still can be done in the three-fourths of Minnesota that has plenty of water. Where the bulk of the corn growers live and work is irrelevant. Ranchers and beef producers don’t raise their cattle in South St. Paul, where the stockyards are, so why would corn growers need to live next door to an ethanol plant?

Sometimes I wonder if the ethanol naysayers have a different agenda than what they claim. They say they want a renewable fuel to protect the environment. Yet, when a practical renewable fuel is available, they buck about it.

Maybe the real reason naysayers don’t want ethanol production to grow is because ethanol will allow people to continue to drive their own individual vehicles.

They want people to live in big cities, ride mass transit or bicycles, or walk everywhere, instead. It’s called social engineering.

I would never want to live in a big city. I would rather see grass and trees instead of all pavement. I also associate big cities with big crime rates.

It would drive me crazy to have to depend on mass transit, walking or bicycling. Grocery shopping would be a nightmare. I would be limited to buying only one bagful at a time because that is all I can carry. If I bought a gallon of bleach or a gallon of milk, the weight would pull my arms off. I can’t see dragging a cart onto a crowded bus or subway either.

Also, I only could run one errand at a time, because I wouldn’t be able to hold multiple items. Wouldn’t frozen food thaw by the time I got home? The only time living in a big city without a car is convenient would be if I never had to carry anything.

Social engineers, who think mass transit is the way to go, are probably limousine liberals. They don’t do their own shopping, they hire people to do it for them. They wouldn’t be caught dead rubbing elbows with the riff raff on mass transit themselves. They want to get as many of us off the streets as possible so there’s no traffic congestion to inconvenience them.

I need a car. I resent social engineers, who pretend they’re protecting the environment, telling me what to ride, and how and where to live.

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