March 21, 2000

March 21, 2000

I think it was all we could hope for! Last week the Clinton Administration committed itself to phasing out M+BE, a gasoline additive that although cleaning the air, has contaminated ground water and wells. Carol Browner, administrator EPA, said the government decision should encourage the use of ethanol and other safe bio-fuels in gasoline.

Admittedly the EPA announcement does not immediately get rid of M+BE. The announcement hands off to Congress the responsibility to write legislation to replace M+BE with ethanol. And in this politically charged election year, there won't be any legislation of that nature passed. That kind of legislation pits the corn states against the oil states. So, don't expect anything to happen soon.

If you take the longer view, however, this action is good -here's why -M+BE is now officially an outcast, a polluter, a toxic cancer-causing substance. Look for ethanol and corn to be the benefactors. Helping us along is the high price of gasoline and a renewed concern about being too heavily dependent on foreign oil.

Just for your information, in relative terms, gasoline might not be considered so expensive. Look at these comparisons -- Lipton Tea $9.52/per gallon; Evian water $21.00/per gallon. That's just plain water! That's enough to make you take a little Pepto Bismol -- $I23/per gallon! Now do you think $1.50/per gallon for gasoline is really expensive?

Perhaps we do. Our cars and trucks and tractors drink this fuel in huge volumes. Our costs go up and, even worse, the fact that we are so heavily dependent on other countries for so much of our fuel is reason enough to use more of our own plentiful resources -- corn.

And I am John Block from Washington!