In light of the terrible disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and the wars this country wages for oil, the U.S. must change its ways if we are to survive financially and environmentally. Our foreign policy has driven us beyond bankruptcy as the debt is near an unsustainable $14 trillion level and growing faster than ever. The Fed can only print counterfeit money for so long before China will no longer fund our overseas follies.

Part of the change that must come should be from embracing clean energy alternatives that are within our immediate grasp. But special interests and Washington would rather we keep war mongering for oil as they avoid safer choices for clean energy production because the safer choices are not spending millions to line the campaign coffers of most politicians on The Hill.

These special interests in Washington have influenced our supposed leaders into subsidizing corn farmers with taxpayer money to grow corn to produce ethanol. There are always unforeseen negative consequences when the government participates in such subsidies. In terms of this corn for ethanol fiasco, it has artificially manipulated supply and prices, hurting people, especially the poor in developing countries who could not adjust to supply and price fluctuations.

There are better options. It turns out that the best source of ethanol is industrial grade hemp, not to be confused with marijuana or pot.

Corn requires more chemicals to grow than hemp and is more expensive and harder to take care of because of weeds and it depletes the nutrients in the soil.

Hemp, on the other hand, grows on its own with way less water, has its own properties that fend off weeds, and it can be grown repeatedly on the same soil and up to four times a year on the same ground, leaving soil more fertile to grow other crops. The seeds from hemp can be utilized for food and other products while still using the stalk and leaves to make ethanol.

As methods for hemp production have been evolving, more uses of the plant are being realized as well. Some car manufacturers are actually making body panels and other parts from hemp!

Hemp also makes more environmentally-friendly clothes. Hemp production does not require the use of pesticides or herbicides that cotton production requires. Hemp products are far more durable than cotton products. And, in terms of paper, hemp does not need the bleach wood requires to produce paper. We could slow deforestation down with hemp production, for one acre of hemp produces as much paper as four acres of trees and the hemp can be grown back four times in a season.

The current corn ethanol tax credit has many unintended negative consequences, and the United States would be better off if the program were scrapped entirely. A recent study by University of Missouri Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute reveals that the current corn ethanol tax credit is effectively costing tax payers $4.18 per gallon and is driving up grain prices. This $4.18 per gallon is separate from and in addition to the price at the pump!

In my humble opinion, the subsidized corn for ethanol program should be scrapped and industrial hemp should be the non-subsidized replacement. However, the Feds have a ban on growing industrial hemp in the U.S. for too many lame insider corporatist reasons to write about in the limited space available here today. But trust me when I say there is real hope, if we would only write letters and make phone calls to our elected leaders to support this.

U.S. Congressman Ron Paul is once again seeking to allow for the commercial farming of industrial hemp with his bill known as H.R. 1866 — The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2010.

If approved, this measure will grant state legislatures the authority to license and regulate the commercial production of hemp as an industrial and agricultural commodity.

Several states have enacted regulations to allow for the cultivation of hemp under state law. However, none of these laws can be implemented without federal approval.

According to a 2005 Congressional Resource Service report, the United States is the only developed nation that fails to cultivate industrial hemp as an economic crop. As a result, U.S. companies that specialize in hempen goods — such as Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Patagonia, Nature’s Path, and Nutiva — have no choice but to import hemp material. These added production costs are then passed on to the consumer who must pay artificially high retail prices for hemp products.

Previous versions of The Industrial Hemp Farming Act were introduced, but failed to receive a public hearing or a committee vote.

Please write your members of Congress today and tell them to end the ludicrous federal prohibition of industrial hemp production.

Greg was the official blog moderator for Ron Paul’s 2008 Presidential MySpace.Com/RonPaul page where Greg continues to keep a running blog of Congressman Paul’s activities. On his own, Greg maintains a similar blog at ThePresident.Com