Governments have a lot of issues to deal with on a daily basis, and as we all know, "The squeaky wheel gets the grease." In order to get Congress to do things, you have to squeak, and the most effective way to do that is to pay someone to lobby members of congress for you. The reason corn ethanol is so "popular" these days is because big agri-businesses like Archer-Daniels Midland spends a lot of money on lobbyists. So now the venture capital companies are following suit and signing up lobbying firms to help them get legislation passed that benefit the businesses they are investing in. One example is the recent California greenhouse gas bill. Of course the oil industry is fighting back saying that the new ventures are looking for handouts because the new technologies are not realistic alternatives to petroleum. However, without the direct and indirect subsidies that the oil industry gets, they certainly wouldn't be so far ahead either.
[Source: New York Times (reg. required) via GreenOptions.com]