Saturday, November 17, 2012

Strange bedfellows

The Environmental Protection Agency declined on Friday to relax its requirement on the use of corn ethanol in gasoline, rejecting a request from several states related to a steep decline in the nation’s corn production.

A summer drought that withered crops led to a spike in prices, hurting the livestock industry and others that depend on corn for food. Estimates indicate that as much as half of the nation’s crop will be used to produce ethanol this year to meet the federal renewable energy standard for transportation fuel.


That would put some environmentalists in rare alignment with the oil industry, which is required to use an increasing amount of ethanol in its fuel production but complains that its system is glutted with the substance.

Since Congress specified a year-by-year gallon quota for biofuels in 2007, total fuel demand in the United States has dropped, so the percentage of ethanol fuel in gasoline has reached unexpected highs.

I don't know enough about the issues to comment, beyond agreeing with the environmental point of view that ethanol made from corn isn't much of a clean energy alternative, but I thought both the article excerpted above and the link in the blockquote were interesting enough to pass along.

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