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Ethanol Production Destroying Millions of Acres of Land And Creating Pollution, Say Experts

Rush to ethanol destroying land, creating pollution
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Some call it the “dirty secret” of Obama’s push for alternative fuels.

If you drive a car, you can’t go a day, it seems, without hearing about ethanol.   We watch a lot of NASCAR and see the endless commercials about how great ethanol is, and how “green” the sport has become.  Car ads constantly brag about how they get astounding mileage due to ethanol or alternative fuels.

But what you’re not seeing on national news, or certainly not hearing from federal officials about,  is the destruction of millions of acres of farmland, and even conservation land due to the giddied rush to produce corn-based ethanol fuel, especially in the Midwest, and Iowa.

Even conservationists and environmentalists are up in arms over what’s happened.   The Associated Press recently ran an article by Matt Apuzzo and Dina Cappiello detailing how the push to plant acre after acre of corn has had an even worse effect on the environment than any oil drilling project could have.   From their story, that appeared on the news website My Way News:

“…But the ethanol era has proven far more damaging to the environment than politicians promised and much worse than the government admits today.”

In the rush to find places to plant corn, the article notes, millions of acres of conservation land were wiped out, habitats destroyed, and underground water supplies polluted.  In Iowa, even a historic settler’s cemetery disappeared under a field of corn!

 ” Five million acres of land set aside for conservation – more than Yellowstone, Everglades and Yosemite National Parks combined – have vanished on Obama’s watch.

The consequences are so severe that environmentalists and many scientists have now rejected corn-based ethanol as bad environmental policy. But the Obama administration stands by it, highlighting its benefits to the farming industry rather than any negative impact.”

The story even went on to say:

“The government’s predictions of the benefits have proven so inaccurate that independent scientists question whether it will ever achieve its central environmental goal: reducing greenhouse gases. That makes the hidden costs even more significant.”

Many scientists and environmentalists point out that plowing up what is called virgin, or un-farmed soil actually releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, offsetting any potential benefits from vehicles using ethanol fuels.   It has become so problematic, says the article, that unlikely forces are coming together to demand changes in the ethanol program:

“The numbers behind the ethanol mandate have become so unworkable that, for the first time, the EPA is soon expected to reduce the amount of ethanol required to be added to the gasoline supply. An unusual coalition of big oil companies, environmental groups and food companies is pushing the government to go even further and reconsider the entire ethanol program.” (bold lettering added for emphasis).

Even more farmers were urged to plan ethanol corn after cuts were made in the Conservation Reserve Program, which paid farmers a certain amount to keep some of their acreage unplowed for the very reasons listed above.  To preserve habitats and avoid release of carbon dioxide.

When you combine the ethanol issue with the billions of wasted taxpayer dollars on green energy companies (Solyndra) it appears Obama’s environmental dice-roll has come up snake eyes.

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