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Ethanol Facts

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Stop Fueling Corporate Welfare!


“Corporate Welfare” is government handouts to large corporations and their wealthy investors – money taken from the average taxpayer, even those who can barely make ends meet. It is WRONG.


Senate Bill 2222 is corporate welfare. It would take money from every farmer, every taxpayer in North Dakota, and give it to huge corporations building ethanol plants and to investors who can afford to gamble a minimum of $10,000 on such a risky investment. We believe the lion’s share would go to very large farmers and other wealthy individuals who invested much larger amounts – and we ALL would pay for it.


These companies should be TAXED – that is, pay their fair share of taxes – not given our money. Please support our referral, and vote NO when it is on the ballot!


Ethanol subsidies rob:


- North Dakota taxpayers. Subsidies would cost us indefinitely up to $1,600,000 per year for the new plant or plants alone, with a total of up to $10 million per plant. The mandate to use ethanol in the state fleet will cost an ADDITIONAL $71,800, and the taxpayers will be paying for this ethanol TWICE: once when it is subsidized, and again when the state BUYS it from the corporation – when the taxpayers paid for its production in the first place.


- Farmers. All farmers and ranchers would pay for the subsidy in the form of decreased fuel rebates, including those who do not grow corn, and 40% of farm vehicle registration fees would go to ethanol. This is unfair! And it comes at a time when farmers can’t afford it.


- Highways and motorists. Money for the ethanol corporations would be taken from the highway fund – the money we need to keep our roads safe and in decent repair. Vehicle registration fees were raised by $3 this year – supposedly for the highway fund – while money for ethanol is being taken FROM the highway fund. Every vehicle owner is being forced to contribute this additional money to corporate welfare. This will not stop.


- Workers of their jobs. Increased taxes cost more jobs in retail than ethanol manufacture creates. The Program Evaluation Division, Office of the Legislative Auditor, Minnesota, reports: “The sectors that gain employment directly from increased ethanol production are mostly manufacturing sectors. In general, these sectors are highly mechanized and levels of output per worker are high. Hence, a given change in output supports a relatively small number of jobs. In contrast, decreases in household spending due to the cost of ethanol programs (emphasis ours) affect workers mainly in the retail sectors, where output per worker is lower. Thus for a given transfer of income from households to the ethanol industry, more retail jobs are lost than there are jobs created in manufacturing.” This is how much taxes for ethanol will affect us.


Who is getting it? Big corporations!


This tax money is being used to increase the profits of huge corporations. Archer Daniels Midland, a corporate giant, is among the biggest contributors of “soft money” to both the Democrats and the Republicans – ensuring that they will get what they want, whoever is in power. That is why ethanol continues to be subsidized, when it benefits NO ONE but these corporations and their investors.


In addition to this, SB 2222 is UNCONSTITUTIONAL.


Article X, Sec. 18 of the ND state constitution reads: “…neither the state nor any political subdivision thereof shall otherwise loan or give its credit or make donations to or in aid of any individual, association or corporation except for reasonable support of the poor, nor subscribe to or become the owner of capital stock in any association or corporation."


Ethanol subsidies also rob:


- America’s energy. It takes 71% more energy, most of it in the form of high-grade fossil fuels, to produce a gallon of ethanol than that gallon contains. There is a net loss of 53,600 BTU per gallon of ethanol produced. Study by David Pimental, Cornell University.


- Social Programs. Welfare given to huge corporations ultimately means less for families. The state has a budget shortfall and is cutting social programs. This is not a time to give taxpayers’money to increase profits to the rich. Moreover, ethanol subsidies would increase food prices for everyone.


- The family farm. Ethanol greatly accelerates the trend away from “agriculture” towards “agribusiness” – instead of family farms producing food for people, we will have huge concerns growing corn for fuel. Ethanol programs do NOT benefit the average farmer; they cost him.

- Our water. Each gallon of ethanol produces 160 gallons of waste water. A plant the size of the proposed Valley City plant uses 750,000 to 1 million gallons a DAY.


- Our air. Ethanol plants emit formaldehyde and other carcinogens. People living two miles from a plant have difficulty breathing. News article from Minnesota


- People’s health. Hazardous emissions include methanol, acetic acid, and formaldehyde. Depletion of water by ethanol plants causes arsenic to leach into wells. "Water Rich, Water Poor," from Wisconsin Public Television, does an excellent job of presenting this issue.


- The environment. Ethanol additives in gasoline INCREASE smog, especially in summer. The Sierra Club is suing for ethanol plant violations and is opposed to ethanol production and use. The State of California, along with the Clean Air Trust and other environmental groups, is suing the EPA to keep ethanol OUT because of its pollution. They will not buy our ethanol, as its boosters tell us. Recent statement by Sen Dianne Feinstien, CA. (and other sources)


Click here to read about another plant the same size as the proposed one, built last August, about which the same promises were made.





NO to SB2222!


Please help our effort. We need people to circulate our petitions, write letters to the editor, call talk shows, and contribute. The “Short Fact Sheet” on this website can be printed as a flyer and distributed. Please contact:


Stop Thief

c/o Norman C. (Clint) Cooper

4848 Highway 85, Lot 119

Williston, ND 58801-8612

701-572-1432 (Please call before 6 PM)