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Feb 13, 2022


Donald Pay

I was a lobbyist for the Sierra Club in South Dakota in the 1990s. We saw ethanol as a bridge fuel that could help to stabilize the agricultural base of the Midwest after the devastation of Farm crisis and Reagan years. The Midwest Chapters of the Sierra Club bucked the national office and joined with the Corn Growers to, if not support, at least not oppose the industry. We knew the environmental downsides of corn-based ethanol, but thought the upside of creating a bridge to cellulosic ethanol was worth temporary downsides. Well, that didn't happen. Today, the downsides vastly outweigh the upsides. The question is how best to reduce the ethanol industry without dire consequences to the communities who benefit from it. It's going to be a challenge.

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