From the department of “told you so” comes this about-face on what was supposed to be an environmental solution. It seems the cure is worse than the disease:
“CORYDON, Iowa — The hills of southern Iowa bear the scars of America’s push for green energy: The brown gashes where rain has washed away the soil. The polluted streams that dump fertilizer into the water supply.”
“Even the cemetery that disappeared like an apparition into a cornfield.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
With the Iowa political caucuses on the horizon in 2007, presidential candidate Barack Obama made homegrown corn a centerpiece of his plan to slow global warming. And when President George W. Bush signed a law that year requiring oil companies to add billions of gallons of ethanol to their gasoline each year, Bush predicted it would make the country “stronger, cleaner and more secure.”
But the ethanol era has proven far more damaging to the environment than politicians promised and much worse than the government admits today.
As farmers rushed to find new places to plant corn, they wiped out millions of acres of conservation land, destroyed habitat and polluted water supplies, an Associated Press investigation found.”
h/t to reader Michael J. Bentley
Here’s the surprising headline and money quote:
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.
Farmers planted 15 million more acres of corn last year than before the ethanol boom, and the effects are visible in places like south central Iowa.
The hilly, once-grassy landscape is made up of fragile soil that, unlike the earth in the rest of the state, is poorly suited for corn. Nevertheless, it has yielded to America’s demand for it.
“They’re raping the land,” said Bill Alley, a member of the board of supervisors in Wayne County, which now bears little resemblance to the rolling cow pastures shown in postcards sold at a Corydon pharmacy.
UPDATE: here is the video report from AP (h/t _Jim)
In related news:
By Sean Cockerham
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration Friday proposed the first-ever reduction in the amount of ethanol in the gasoline supply, signaling retreat from the Renewable Fuel Standard passed by Congress in 2007.
The Environmental Protection Agency wants 15.21 billion gallons of renewable fuels blended into gasoline and diesel next year, down from 16.55 billion gallons this year. Most of it is corn-based ethanol.
- Making corn-based ethanol badly hurting environment: AP (cbsnews.com)
- Ethanol criticized as ‘ecological disaster’ (utsandiego.com)
- Obama’s Green Power … Raping The Land (cryandhowl.com)
- EPA orders cut in ethanol in gasoline next year, citing risk of engine damage (kansascity.com)