Reader Response Forum: “The West Wing” Tackles Ethanol

Here’s your chance to chime in. “King Corn,” this week’s episode of “The West Wing” was largely based on ethanol — and it wasn’t a flattering portrayal either. Candidates campaigning in Iowa for the show’s mock primary were gravely torn over the corn-based fuel additive. Most of the candidates privately denounced support and government subsides for the fuel as only a thinly-veiled giveaway to large, commercial agriculture operations. They also chided the renewable fuel oxygenate’s manufacturing as nearly a net-energy loss, requiring more energy in its various inputs than can be extracted from the final product. But all were equally concerned that if they didn’t support ethanol — or take the “Ethanol Pledge” — it would be their campaigns that would suffer the greatest loss.

Clearly, renewable energy has been a chic topic with the popular, prime-time series. Last November, the show portrayed the renewable energy industry as a fractured, dysfunctional family, unable to embrace each other’s technologies in the pursuit of a common goal. Donald Osborn addressed the issue in an RE Insider on our Web site and many of you chimed in using our comment forum. This time, we’re curious what you think about these criticisms leveled at ethanol? Are they callous Hollywood mischaracterizations or is there some truth to them? Use the comment forum below to share your thoughts, and please keep it short, and identify yourself fully as these responses could be used in an upcoming reaction article. – Editors,
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