ReThink Ethanol’s Response to the NYT

Response to the New York Times’ article “The Standoff Between Big Oil and Big Corn”

With so many conflicting studies, many of them funded for by interested parties, it is necessary to rely on one’s own common sense when it comes to evaluating ethanol.  This political issue involves more than just big oil and big corn, it involves the environment.

 The one factor that most evaluations of corn ethanol overlook is the energy that is required to produce it.  Studies indicate that ethanol yields anywhere from 70% to 134% of the energy used to produce it.  Think about that.  Energy is consumed when ethanol is produced and again when it is consumed.  Think about the tractors used to till the fields and harvest the corn.  Think about the trucks used to transport corn kernels and  liquid ethanol. (It can’t be shipped by pipeline.)  Think about the energy consumed in the production of herbicides, insecticides and fertilizers.  Can a process that uses as much fossil fuel to produce as it saves when you fill your tank really help with energy independence?   

 Forty percent of all corn in this country–35,000,000 acres–is grown for ethanol.  The loss of biodiversity here and in the Amazon (where they are growing soybeans that we used to grow here before it was displaced by corn) is staggering.  The fertilizer run-off is also staggering and creates toxic algae in our lakes and and dead zones in near coastal waters.

 This is a terrible policy on so many different levels.

Share This