Ethanol is not “green,” “clean” or ‘environmentally friendly.’ All one has to do is look at southern Iowa, an area that fell for the scam and now bears the scars.
When Bush made ethanol a centerpiece of his plan to slow so-called global warming in 2007, and signed a law requiring oil companies to add billions of gallons of ethanol to their gasoline, he predicted it would make the country “stronger, cleaner and more secure.”
Farmers in Iowa rushed to find new land to plant their corn, in the process wiping out millions of acres of conservation land, destroying habitat and polluting water supplies according to an AP investigation. Five million acres set aside for conservation, more than Yellowstone, Everglades and Yosemite combined, have vanished on Obama’s watch.
Landowners filled in wetlands and plowed into pristine prairies. 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. Yet Obama arrogantly holds to ethanol’s value preferring to highlight its benefits to the farming industry rather than admitting its negative impact on the environment.
The government’s predictions of the benefits of ethanol have proven so inaccurate that independent scientists question whether it will ever achieve its central goal to reduce greenhouse gases. According to Craig Cox with the Environmental Working Group, a big Obama supporter, “this is an ecological disaster.”
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 requirement. Of course the ethanol industry is fighting against that effort. Who will win – the environment or money?
Writing the regulations to implement Bush’s ethanol mandate was one of Obama’s first major undertakings. EPA determined that the mandate would increase demand for corn and encourage farmers to plow more land. The EPA experts also determined that ethanol was only slightly better than gas when it came to CO2 emissions, 16% better to be exact and then only by 2022. By law, of course, biofuels were supposed to be at least 20% greener than gasoline but Congress in its infinite wisdom exempted existing coal and gas burning ethanol plants from having to meet this standard.
A 2011 article in the Washington Times, “Blighted Harvest” said that ethanol is not improving our fuel efficiency, but rather decreasing it to depressing levels. Ethanol production substantially drives up the price of corn that we use for food, and releases 19% more CO2 than gasoline. According to the Water Education Foundation, a pound of corn requires 118 gallons of water to grow. Given the 21 pounds of corn required to produce one gallon of ethanol, that’s almost 2500 gallons of water used, not including water in the distillation stage. So when filling their gas tanks, most Americans now indirectly consume over 2500 gallons of water.
Another major downside of producing corn ethanol is the amount of energy required. Ethanol made from corn returns only 25% more energy than is consumed to make it. This means that each gallon of ethanol fuel is only 25% “renewable” energy (a 4:1 ratio).
When a gasohol mixture contains more than 0.5% of water (which can easily accumulate due to humidity on a hot day), the ethanol starts to decompose, forming a single phase separation layer of ethanol and water at the bottom of a fuel tank which gets sucked into the engine, clogging up and permanently destroying the carburetor. Billions have been spent on countless lawn mowers, weed eaters/trimmers, blowers, lawn equipment, boat, and other small engines that have all failed due to ethanol corruption.