Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The True Cost of Ethanol

If he's for it, it's a bad idea.

The Bush Administration loves to tout ethanol as the next fuel to replace oil. But it is an environmental disaster, both because of the tremendous amount of energy that is expended to make it, and because of the environmental effects.

Boston Globe: US corn boom threatens sea life
Fertilizer runoff polluting Gulf

JEFFERSON, Iowa - Because of rising demand for ethanol, American farmers are growing more corn than at any time since the Depression. And sea life in the Gulf of Mexico is paying the price.
more stories like this

The nation's corn crop is fertilized with millions of pounds of nitrogen-based fertilizer. And when that nitrogen runs off fields in Corn Belt states, it makes its way to the Mississippi River and eventually pours into the Gulf, where it contributes to a growing "dead zone" - a 7,900-square-mile patch so depleted of oxygen that fish, crabs, and shrimp suffocate.

The dead zone was discovered in 1985 and has grown fairly steadily since then, forcing fishermen to venture farther and farther out to sea to find their catch. For decades, fertilizer has been considered the prime cause of the lifeless spot.

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