Thursday, March 09, 2006

A letter to Wisconsin State Senator Scott Fitzgerald

My Wisconsin State Senator Scott Fitzgerald looks like he'll be a swing vote on the state's ethanol mandate bill. As James Wigderson notes here and I note at the BBA, it is important that those in Fitzgerald's district contact his office on this bill. I have, and what follows is the text of my letter. If you live in Scott Fitzgerald's district and are having trouble writing a letter, feel free to use this as a guide.

Dear Senator Fitzgerald-

I urge you to oppose the ethanol bill which is now on the Senate schedule. While a small number of people in your district stand to benefit from this bill, the vast majority of your constituents will not. The science on ethanol has been highly politcally charged and therefore difficult to decipher, but a couple of things are apparent. An ethnol mandate will not make for a cleaner environment. Even this state's DNR cannot say that it would. Gas mileage of vehicles will decrease, meaning that the 10% ethanol will not reduce Wisconsin's gas consumption by 10%. Also, it is apparent that there will be a shortfall of domestic ethanol production this year, meaning we will still be importing more expensive ethanol from Brazil. That, combined with possible distribution difficulties this year and transition costs that gas stations occur, and this mandate could add a significant premium to already expensive gasoline prices in Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin consumer is intelligent enough to make good purchasing decisions. If all of the science in favor of ethanol gasoline turns out to be dead on accurate, I'm quite sure that Wisconsinites will migrate to ethanol blends without the intervention of the government. If the facts touted by ethanol supporters is not correct, however, and this bill is passed and becomes law, it could stand to be an economic and environmental hit to the entire state. The safe course of action is to let the market make this decision, and I hope that is the course that you chart. Thank you for your time.

Ryan Ojibway

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