Thursday, January 19, 2012
Via HBL comes a story that, even in this day and age, is a little hard for me to believe. The New York Times reports that energy producers are being fined by our government for not selling a biofuel that doesn't even exist.
When the companies that supply motor fuel close the books on 2011, they will pay about $6.8 million in penalties to the Treasury because they failed to mix a special type of biofuel into their gasoline and diesel as required by law.In a sense, there is a strange logic to these fines: This law is, of course, supposed to remedy global warming, a phenomenon that may or may not exist, that may or may not be a problem if it does, and wouldn't be the government's problem to solve even then. When you start acting on the arbitrary, why draw a line anywhere, including whether what you want is even possible?
In 2012, the oil companies expect to pay even higher penalties for failing to blend in the fuel, which is made from wood chips or the inedible parts of plants like corncobs. Refiners were required to blend 6.6 million gallons into gasoline and diesel in 2011 and face a quota of 8.65 million gallons this year.
Penalizing the fuel suppliers demonstrates what happens when the federal government really, really wants something that technology is not ready to provide. In fact, while it may seem harsh that the Environmental Protection Agency is penalizing them for failing to do the impossible, the agency is being lenient by the standards of the law, the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act. [bold and hyperlink added]
P.S. It is worth noting that President Bush signed the Energy Independence and Security Act into law.