Grassley floats the worst idea I've heard in a while

Way back before Tom Harkin was elected to the Senate, Iowa had two Republican senators: Roger Jepsen and Chuck Grassley. We used to call them “Tweedle Dumb” and “Tweedle Dumber.”

For those of you too young to remember, Tweedle Dumb lost to Harkin despite the massive Reagan landslide of 1984. His campaign faltered when it became public knowledge that he had frequented “massage parlors.” Why did it become public knowledge? Because Tweedle Dumb used his personal credit card to pay for the massage parlor services.

But I digress.

It's easy to forget Chuck Grassley was ever known as Tweedle Dumber, but I remembered when I saw this piece in the Des Moines Register:

Grassley: Ethanol plants should use coal

Responding to worries that the ethanol boom will drive up the price of natural gas used to power the ethanol plants, Grassley had a brilliant idea:

“We’ve got to use things that we have in greater supply. We need to use more coal in place of natural gas,” Grassley said Tuesday.


Noneed4thneed comments that using coal to produce ethanol negates any environmental benefit from the renewable fuel. If you're not reducing greenhouse gases, then the only benefit of ethanol is that it helps Iowa farmers. He wonders, “Why limit the benefits?”

Well, maybe Grassley has no concern for the environment and no interest in reducing greenhouse gases. Instead, his ingenious plan would please the corporate interests that profit from coal as well as the corporate interests that stand to profit from ethanol.

Or maybe Tweedle Dumber really does care about the environment and is too dim to understand why it makes no sense to use coal in ethanol production. 

Senator Grassley, do everyone a favor and retire. Maybe you can get an ethanol-powered riding mower to demonstratively mow your own lawn with.

  • You are right on.

    While the concern about natural gas for ethanol is a valid one, why is Grassley advocating out-of-state coal?  Why not methane from manure (we got plenty of that) or other biomass resources?  You would think an Iowa farmer like Grassley would go that route.

  • That is the dumbest thing I've heard in a long time.

    Ethanol from corn is already a dodgy proposition from a net energy balance standpoint.  But coal?  Talk about a guy who just has no idea what's going on.  I realize that alternative fuels and and the associated technologies are all pretty shiny and new but we are basically talking about the same process used to brew bourbon.  This ain't exactly rocket science. 

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