Saturday, January 17, 2009

Thune streses importance of moving beyond corn

One of the digs on ethanol/gas blends is its effect on food prices, which is debatable, at this point.

During the recent confirmation hearings of Ag Secretary-designee Tom Vilsack, South Dakota Senator John Thune seemed to have a grip for both the policy and politics of the issue.

“Frankly, moving toward the next generation of biofuels, cellulosic ethanol, is going be very important in responding to those concerns in a public that wants to see both objectives achieved — increasing the use of renewables but also keeping food costs at a reasonable level."

As the Daily Republic notes, Thune's constituents in South Dakota are ethanol cheerleaders, since the state's become a hotbed of ethanol production. But that support doesn't necessarily translate to, oh, say... New Mexico.

Thune's sensitivity to both his own state's agenda, as well as national reluctance could reveal his Presidential aspirations. Or, less cynically, -- it could be as simple as trying to balance that thin line between What's Best for My State and What's Best for My Country.