Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich today dismissed the “big city” critics of corn-based ethanol and suggested the biofuels industry will be able to “stand on its own” without federal subsidies once all autos are “flexible-fuel” vehicles.
Gingrich was the keynote speaker at the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Summit in Des Moines. ”If we kept $400 billion a year at home that is currently going out of the United States to buy energy, we would be dramatically better off,” Gingrich said. “And, frankly, I would rather have the next building boom in Des Moines than in Dubqi so I think we ought to have a policy that focuses on it.”
Gingrich attacked critics of ethanol, saying a recent Wall Street Journal editorial on the subject was “flat out wrong.”
“I don’t mind people having an honest argument about ideology, but they ought to at least use facts that are accurate,” Gingrich said. “…This is an interest group fight in which a number of very sophisticated, big interest groups have set up a myth and are busy actively propagating the myth, but the truth is it hurts the farmer. It hurts rural America and it’s fundamentally unfair to America’s future.”
Gingrich called for new federal regulations to ensure every vehicle made in the U.S. is able to run on ethanol or methane. Gingrich told reporters after his speech that he does not support extension of the federal tax create for ethanol fuel “beyond this year.”
“If they’re prepared to insist on a flex-fuel vehicle and every car in America’s capable of buying ethanol, I think the industry can stand on its own,” Gingrich said.
Gingrich has indicated he will announce by March 1st if he intends to seek the G.O.P.’s 2012 presidential nomination. Gingrich joked about one of the themes of President Obama’s State of the Union speech this evening. Gingrich wrote a book titled “Winning the Future” and Gingrich told the audience he’ll send out a newsletter tomorrow evaluating the president’s proposals and comparing them with those outlined in his own 2005 book.
Listen to Gingrich’s speech here: Gingrich 27:38 MP3
Listen to Gingrich with reporters after the speech: Gingrich post speech 3:17 MP3