The Natural Resources Defense Council used a 96-page report in 2004 to proclaim boundless biofuel benefits: slashed global warming emissions, improved air quality and more wildlife habitat.
Instead, farmers plowed millions of acres of prairie grasses to grow corn for making ethanol, with fertilizer runoff contributing to a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Scientists warned that carbon dioxide emissions associated with corn-based ethanol were higher than expected.
Sprayers pumped out billions of pounds of fertilizer, some of which seeped into drinking water, contaminated rivers and worsened the huge dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico where marine life can't survive.
The consequences are so severe that environmentalists and many scientists have now rejected corn-based ethanol as bad environmental policy. -Dina Cappiello and Matt Apuzzo, AP
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. "This is an ecological disaster," said Craig Cox with the Environmental Working Group... -Dina Cappiello and Matt Apuzzo, AP
Environmentalist, Liberal, Incompetence, Science, Oops
Environmentalists who once championed biofuels as a way to cut pollution are now turning against a U.S. program that puts renewable fuels in cars, citing higher-than-expected carbon dioxide emissions and reduced wildlife habitat. More than a decade after conservationists helped persuade Congress to require adding corn-based ethanol and other biofuels to gasoline, some groups regret the resulting agricultural runoff in waterways and conversion of prairies to cropland...
Environmentalist, Warming, Liberal, Government, Incompetence, Science, Brilliance, Oops, Energy
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...
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. Five million acres of land set aside for conservation — more than Yellowstone, Everglades and Yosemite National Parks combined — have vanished on Obama's watch. Landowners filled in wetlands. They plowed into pristine prairies, releasing carbon dioxide that had been locked in the soil.
Democrat, Environmentalist, Warming, Liberal, Government, Incompetence, Obama, Oops, Energy, Regulation
The research published in Nature Climate Change is among the first to attempt to quantify, over 12 corn belt states, how much carbon is lost to the atmosphere when the stalks, leaves and cobs that make up residue are removed and used to make biofuel, instead of left to naturally replenish the soil with carbon. The study found that regardless of how much corn residue is taken off the field, the process contributes to global warming.
Democrat, Environmentalist, Liberal, Government, Incompetence, Obama, Oops
Five million acres of land set aside for conservation — more than Yellowstone, Everglades and Yosemite National Parks combined — have vanished on Obama’s watch. Landowners filled in wetlands. They plowed into pristine prairies, releasing carbon dioxide that had been locked in the soil. 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 economic benefits to the farming industry.
The nitrates travel down rivers and into the Gulf of Mexico, where they boost the growth of enormous algae fields. When the algae die, the decomposition consumes oxygen, leaving behind a zone where aquatic life cannot survive.
This year, the dead zone covered 5,800 square miles of sea floor, about the size of Connecticut. Larry McKinney, the executive director of the Harte Institute at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, says the ethanol mandate worsened the dead zone.
“The government is mandating ethanol use,” he said, “and it is unfortunately coming at the expense of the Gulf of Mexico.”
-Jack Gillum and Chet Brokaw
Democrat, Environmentalist, Liberal, Government, Incompetence, Oops, Energy, Regulation
Across the Dakotas and Nebraska, more than 1 million acres of the Great Plains are giving way to corn fields as farmers transform the wild expanse that once served as the backdrop for American pioneers. This expansion of the Corn Belt is fueled in part by America's green energy policy, which requires oil companies to blend billions of gallons of corn ethanol into their gasoline.
Environmentalist, Government, Incompetence, Oops, Energy, Economy, Regulation
The federal requirement for gas refiners to mix biofuel in with conventional gasoline is a “flop,” according to Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), and should be eliminated. Welch said that the renewable fuel standard, administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), drives up the cost of corn, which ends up raising prices for dairy farmers in his state as well as other livestock producers. Plus, he said, the amount of energy required to produce the biofuel ends up hurting the environment.
Ethanol: The Little People Go Hungry...
That can-do solution to energy needs - turning corn into fuel - is sapping fields of plenty once devoted to crops that people need to eat. Shortages have sparked riots.
Environmentalist, Crime, Government, Incompetence, Financial, Fraud, Oops, Corruption
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — A West Texas businessman was sentenced Friday to more than 15 years in prison for a biodiesel scam that generated nearly $42 million in revenue, allowing him to purchase expensive cars, a military tank, and season tickets to San Antonio Spurs games...
Prosecutors said he devised a scheme beginning in 2010 to mislead the Environmental Protection Agency by claiming his company, Absolute Fuels, produced biodiesel fuel. He never had a facility to produce the fuel and falsely generated federal renewable fuel credits that were sold to oil companies and brokers, prosecutors said. He told purchasers to wire payments to his bank account. Ultimately, $41.7 million was deposited.
Environmentalist, Un, Oops
Global pressure on the United States to relax its ethanol quota mounted on Thursday as the top United Nations food official said an "immediate, temporary suspension" of the mandate could help head off another world food crisis.
Environmentalist, Hypocrisy, Liberal, Election, Incompetence, Oops, Demagoguery
ATHENS, Greece — In a mea culpa of sorts, former Vice President Al Gore on Monday said he made a mistake in supporting corn-based ethanol while he was in office, admitting he was more interested in farm votes for his presidential run than what was best for the environment.
Ethanol: "That Mistake"...
"One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president."