The Washington Times: EDITORIAL: Imaginary optimism

August 9, 2013

August 9 – Only in Washington would it take eight months to come up with a production quota for an imaginary product. The Environmental Protection Agency, which is all too real, announced this week the latest renewable-fuel standards, which were due in January. Now the oil companies must produce 6 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol, down from last year’s target of 11 million.

That’s still 6 million gallons too many, because cellulosic ethanol exists only in the fertile imagination of green fanatics. Environmentalists fantasize about a process for converting wood and switchgrass into the biofuel known as cellulosic ethanol. Oil companies could stop drilling for oil. Cellulosic ethanol will, they assure us, eliminate U.S. dependence on the Middle East and guarantee a cooler planet with less carbon dioxide. Unfortunately, fantasy dies hard in the cold light of the real world.

This magic elixir can so far be made only in a laboratory, and it’s impractical to produce in large quantities. Nonetheless, under a law signed in 2007 by President George W. Bush, the EPA tells fuel refiners how much imaginary product must be pumped into the gasoline supply.