Hot Air posted an article today about the environmental impact of ethanol. Remember that using ethanol (and even increasing the percentage of ethanol in gasoline) was supposed to have a positive impact on the environment. Well, not so fast.
The article reports:
One of the chief claims of the corn lobby is that ethanol is a more “green” type of energy because it’s renewable. From there, the argument is extended to claim that it’s better for the environment all the way around. But the conclusions of a study underlying the latest EPA report on the environmental impact of ethanol (seven years in the making, dating back well into the Obama administration) concludes that the opposite is true. Ethanol produces significant negative impacts on the environment, in some cases worse than the gasoline it’s supposed to be replacing. (Public News Service)
The article explains:
A long-delayed report from the Environmental Protection Agency finds that requiring ethanol made from corn and soybeans to be part of the nation’s gas supply is causing serious environmental harm.
Federal law requires the EPA to assess the environmental impact of the fuel standard every three years, but the new report, issued in July, was four years overdue. According to David DeGennaro with the National Wildlife Federation, the report documents millions of acres of wildlife habitat lost to ethanol crop production, increased nutrient pollution in waterways and air emissions and side effects worse than the gasoline the ethanol is replacing.
“In finding that the Renewable Fuel Standard is having negative consequences to a whole suite of environmental indicators,” DeGennaro said, “the report is a red flag warning us that we need to reconsider the mandate’s scope and its focus on first-generation fuels made from food crops.”
…The bigger surprise is the fact that ethanol production and combustion significantly increases the production of nitrous oxides (Nox). This combines with oxygen in the atmosphere when exposed to sunlight, producing ozone.
The article concludes:
The Renewable Fuel Standard needs to be scaled back (preferably eliminated), not expanded. And if basic considerations of the damage it does to marine equipment and small engines, on top of burning too hot and producing less energy by volume than gas isn’t a good enough reason, perhaps the damage to the environment will convince you.
The corn lobby is not going to like this report. This is what happens when you jump on the environmental bandwagon before you completely understand the consequences of what you are doing.