Column - Seriously, folks, you can't make this stuff upNow comes the seventh year of product development and you have not completed the project because there has been no “wickety wackety thingamagig” available on the market for you to use as was instructed. You explain this to your boss and he is very upset but gives you another two weeks to complete the project or out the door you go — no excuses.
By: DuWayne Paul, Columnist, Alexandria Echo Press
So this can make some sense, I will draw a hypothetical situation to relate to a true story.
Let’s say your boss tells you to develop a new product to be sold and you are required to use a certain element in that product. You are directed to have it ready in 7 years and if not, you will lose your job. For example purposes, we will say the “secret ingredient” is a “wickety wackety thingamagig.” You inquire where to obtain this secret ingredient and your boss tells you it will be available in the market soon and to look for it as soon as it is ready. Also, there will be no excuses, and expectations are high that you will perform this task and complete the project.
Now comes the seventh year of product development and you have not completed the project because there has been no “wickety wackety thingamagig” available on the market for you to use as was instructed. You explain this to your boss and he is very upset but gives you another two weeks to complete the project or out the door you go — no excuses. You search frantically for a “wickety wackety thingamagig,” but none can be found. Hello, unemployment!
This is exactly the same kind of scenario that is coming out of the EPA these days. It is a true case of government out of control and running rough shod over free markets and the resources that drive those markets.
Have you ever heard of cellulosic ethanol? Most people haven’t. That’s because it is not available on the market and is the “wickety wackety thingamagig” in the above story.
In 2005, the EPA ordered that all fuel refineries in the U.S. use cellulosic ethanol in blending certain fuels they sell, and the refineries were to have that completed by 2012. In 2012, the requirement is to produce 500 million gallons of blended fuel using cellulosic ethanol. Here’s the catch. There has been no cellulosic ethanol developed for the market and for the refiners to use in blending their fuels. Therefore they could not complete the requirement and are now facing stiff fines from the EPA for not complying.
The requirement goes higher each year. In 2015, oil refiners are required to produce 3 billion gallons of blended fuels using this product. As I write this, I am shaking my head about the craziness that comes from the EPA, and I can imagine you are doing the same.
When the EPA was confronted about the situation, their response was that they would lower the required number of gallons produced by refiners. What? There still is no cellulosic ethanol available! What good does it do to reduce the requirement? When asked about this by the Institute of Energy Research, the EPA responded that they will create a new requirement based on “what they think will be available in the market for cellulosic ethanol.” A study by the Congressional Research Service says “the government projects that cellulosic bio fuels are not expected to be commercially available on a large scale until at least 2015.”
There you have it folks. Government gone wild and private enterprise is left holding the bag and trying to figure out what to do next. No wonder the free market is afraid to expand and hire, thus creating new jobs and bringing us out of this economic quagmire. Who knows what will be the next silly regulation coming out of Washington, D.C. But, as usual, I’m just sayin’.
“The cellulosic biofuel program is the embodiment of government gone wild.”
— Tom Pyle, Institute of Energy Research
• • •
DuWayne Paul of Alexandria is a regular contributing columnist for the Echo Press.