A caption in the article “Soy is Growing” (News, Sept. 12-19) read “Soy biodiesel is a win-win for Indiana.” I disagree. It will be the agrichemical industry and multinational agriculture corporations such as Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) who will benefit from the government subsidies and not the average Hoosier. This article painted a glossy picture for soy biodiesel production in Indiana and did not mention the increased environmental damage due to fertilizer runoff into our streams, soil erosion and deforestation to clear more arable acres for soy and corn production.
The debate over whether or not we get more energy out of soy biodiesel than what goes into its production is mute because we can never replace our current fossil fuel economy with soy biodiesel or ethanol. The small percentage of gain in fuel supplies from soy and ethanol could be met many times over by any number of alternatives such as increasing auto fuel efficiencies, choosing to buy a hybrid, combining trips, lowering the speed limit on highways and applying restrictions on endless urban sprawl. Trying to meet a rising demand for fuel is madness, wherever the fuel might come from. The hard decisions have been avoided while our elected officials seek the most profitable short-term solutions.
The energy problems we face are fundamental, so the solutions need to be fundamental. Solutions to our collective problems must be collective solutions.