A war is brewing between the ethanol industry and the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA wants to reduce the mandated amount of biofuels that go into the nation's fuel supply, while the ethanol industry understandably doesn't want that to happen.

National Corn Growers officials say the EPA wants a 1.4 billion gallon cut to corn-based ethanol, which would cap the amount at 13 billion gallons. That could mean a 25-cent decrease for every bushel of corn a farmer grows. They're a part of the ethanol industry, too, and aren't pleased by what the reduction could mean to their bottom lines.

But we've all got a dog in this fight. Haven't the gas prices been good recently? Yes, and that's a part of this, too. The use of ethanol in gas brings the price down by an estimated $1 a gallon. That's a huge difference and one we'd all feel the loss of if the EPA has its way in the near future.

It is more than money, too. We've been involved in three wars in the last 20 years either directly or indirectly over oil. Many lives have been lost because of that, and no dollar figure can be put on it.

The U.S. spends $400 billion a year importing oil. Anything that can cut that dependency is worth something, and that's what ethanol does.

Some have argued that the ethanol industry promotes corn growers to use their crop for the fuel instead of feed for livestock or other food. That makes it more expensive for cattlemen to raise their livestock. Of course, many farmers also raise cattle so they see both sides of this equation.

It is a bit of a quandary but one that has an answer on down the line. Much progress has been made in the new cellulosic ethanol industry, which creates ethanol out of all sorts of waste products. That includes corn plant residue, wood scraps and even garbage.

Companies currently are constructing cellulosic ethanol plants, including one in Hugoton, which will help out with another EPA mandate. That one calls for 16 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol to be used among the 36 billion gallons to be mixed into the nation's fuel supply by 2022. Last year, only 25,000 gallons of cellulosic ethanol was produced. This year that's expected to jump to 10 million gallons and will continue to grow as additional new ethanol plants go online.

That change in direction is what's needed most of all. There's no reason a long battle has to be waged over ethanol. Help is on the way and it benefits the environment, the ethanol industry, agriculture and consumers.