His latest missive in the Red Wing Republican Eagle, parrots the GOP slogan du jour, "Drill Here, Drill Now." It's nothing less that what we expect from him, given his past scribblings about global warming and the cult of Brian Davis. Now he's venturing into bashing second-generation biofuels. He writes in part:
If there’s any value in these slogans, it’s that they expose the Democrats’ flawed energy policies — higher taxes on domestic energy producers, bans on drilling and exploration, heavier dependence on foreign imports, increasing mandates for energy alternatives such as cellulosic ethanol of which not one barrel has been produced — all to pacify environmental extremists.
We'll leave off an in-depth examination of the first three in his laundry list as well as his attribution of motive (the tourism and other industries in Florida, for example, may have had as much to do with bans off the Florida coast as environmentalists, extreme or otherwise, and some restricted offshore areas are military training waters). That stuff is the usual paranoid style's list of offenses and discovery of the villain.
Let's look at the claim that doesn't rely on ideology or complex explanation, but can be affirmed or dismissed. Adams jeers at one piece of the puzzle:
. . .increasing mandates for energy alternatives such as cellulosic ethanol of which not one barrel has been produced . . .
Is that true: that not one barrel cellulosic energy has been produced?
He's wrong. Cellulosic ethanol doubters need only look west to Upton, Wyoming, to find a plant producing cellulosic ethanol. The Black Hills Pioneer reports in What has happened to ethanol?:
. . . The bright spot in all of this has been cellulosic ethanol, fuel produced from wood or other biomass. KL Process Design Group of Rapid City operates the Western Biomass facility in Upton, Wyo., and has been successful since cellulosic ethanol is guarded from the problems corn-based ethanol are facing and prices for the fuel are keeping up with oil prices.
“Ethanol is trading up $1 higher than it was a year ago. I remember selling ethanol for $1.70, and now it's selling for $2.70, so we've seen great strides for the industry there, and all along keeping the price of gas down for the consumers,” said Slunecka. . . .
. . .Things are going well enough for KL Design Group that the company is looking for a second site to construct another cellulosic ethanol plant. “Our hope is to find a location in and around the Black Hills area,” he said.
The commercial-scale pilot plant, operating since August 2007, is expected to produce 1.5 millions of ethanol a year from wood waste. Not much, but a start, and one successful enough for the company to duplicate. The company uses enzymes to break down the waste wood.
Adams needn't take our word for the existence of the Wyoming facility and its production. Here's a YouTube video tour of the Western Biomass plant:
And while this plant may be the first in the United States to produce cellulosic energy by the barrel, it's not going to be the last.
Another pilot project, being set up by Gulf Coast Energy in Alabama last month, will use gasification to create ethanol from wood waste; should the project prove viable, the company will expand it to 45 million gallons.
Other demonstration scale projects are underway to exploit other feedstocks in addition to wood. Verenium, which produces cellulosic ethanol from wood waste in Japan and is opening another plant in Thailand, has opened a 1.4 million gallon demonstration plant in Louisiana, using sugarcane bagasse, a byproduct of sugar refining.
Such plants are used to test and perfect processes for large-scale commercial facilities, and from what we gather from news reports, energy companies are signing on for the ride. Shell, for example, is increasing its stake in Iogen Energy Corp from 26.3 percent to 50 percent. Why? Because Iogen's research facilities are finding a way to produce cellulosic ethanol:
Shell said it would increase its stake in Iogen Energy Corp, a subsidiary of Iogen that focuses on technology develompent, to 50 percent from 26.3 percent.
Shell also said it would consider investing in a full-scale commercial plant for the Iogen technology, which makes ethanol from wheat straw. It did not disclose how much it will invest in the privately held company.
Iogen, which is also backed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N: Quote, Profile, Research), has run a demonstration plant in Ottawa since 2004 that can produce about 2.5 million liters of ethanol a year from the plant stalks that are left behind after farmers harvest crops.
It is planning to open a C$500-million ($500 million) commercial-scale plant in Saskatchewan, Canada's largest wheat-producing province, in 2011. That plant would produce about 90 million liters (23.78 million U.S. gallons) of ethanol a year.
Obviously, these facilities are producing barrels of cellulosic energy.
Adams also misleads readers in suggesting that support for investing in cellulosic ethanol is an exclusively Democratic franchise, and yet our own governor's record in Minnesota and his "Securing a Clean Energy Future" call to action as chair of the National Governors Association suggests otherwise. Another Minnesota Republican, Senator Coleman, was a co-sponsor of the National Security and Bioenergy Investment Act of 2005.
We're curious how Adams would explain headlines like this one in Governors talk of moving beyond corn-based ethanol in which we read Republican governors saying things like:
Pawlenty says biofuels will be a big part of the nation's energy future but the type of biofuels will evolve and change.
Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah echoed that notion when he dismissed the idea of an energy argument along the lines of to drill or not to drill for oil.
"The choices increasingly are plentiful," he said on C-SPAN Sunday.
"The question before policy makers really is what are the choices we have to get us from today's very hydrocarbon dependent world to one, 20, 30, 40 years from now, that will be much less hydrocarbon dependent," he said.
Adams is doing a heckova job for a guy who purports not to like slogans or extremists--but evidence increasingly leads us and others to the conclusion that reliance on both slogans and extreme exaggeration are the cornerstone of Brian Davis's "energy policy" and its allegiance to fossil fuels and no fuels efficiency standards. Adams is a passenger in this clown car.
In his Friday Update, for example, Minnesota First blogger Apollo, a moderate independent, wrote:
Brian Davis continues to expose himself as a unfit to serve our district. He accuses Tim Walz of "shortsightedness" for trying to advocate for the technology and energy policy that is in fact very forward-looking. Rather than looking for more oil, like a junkie jonesin' for his next fix, Tim Walz refuses to give in to the pressure to pander that the good doctor has apparently succumbed to. Dr. Davis is even more disingenuous in claiming that Tim Walz does not support more drilling. He does, just not in pristine habitats; rather, Mr. Walz supports drilling for oil in already-designated areas that have yet to be tapped. Brian Davis provides little details about his energy policy in this post, but luckily he has bestowed his wisdom on us previously and his simplistic, vacuous policies have been widely debunked here and elsewhere. If Tim Walz is shortsighted, then Brian Davis is positively blind.
[Update] The Blueman notes that Brian Davis joins Bachmann and Kline in disregard of oil prices. Kimball's point is that Davis, like Bachmann and Kline, repeat NRCC sock puppet chatter, but can't talk about crafting real, bipartisan solutions. [end update]
Research continues on developing additional feedstocks, such as cattails, switchgrass and the so-called "Tilman blends" of prairie grasses. To scorn the research and development of these potential energy resources is blind indeed.
Update: Another one of our favorite First District RPM activists and LTE writers, Leroy Vetsch, is back in the pages of the Worthington Globe today with Davis is the man to represent us.
Loyal readers of BSP may remember our post, Urban legends R us: China drilling myth repeated in LTE in which Vetsch, treasurer of the Nobles County RPM and another Brian Davis cult follower, had an earlier letter published in which he duly recited the NRCC talking point. Can these guys ever make an argument without a side dressing of horse apples? [end update]