Ethanol and the Environment

Ethanol is often touted as a “green” fuel. The fact is, experts say the artificial demand for ethanol is wreaking havoc on the environment. According to the Environmental Working Group:

  • The Government Accountability Office (GAO) of Congress cited several researchers who found that when you factor in indirect land use changes, such as the clearing of forests for additional production because existing corn is being diverted to make fuel, ethanol results in more greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline.
  • Wildlife habitat is being converted to grow corn. The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) reported that the corn ethanol “gold rush has” been responsible for plowing up thousands of acres of pristine wildlife habitat (and prime carbon sequestration vegetation) and converting it to corn production. “Our research shows that native grassland is being converted into cropland at an alarming rate throughout the Prairie Pothole Region… as a result, populations of sensitive wildlife species are declining significantly in areas with high increases in corn plantings,” according to NWF.
  • Pollution flowing into the Gulf of Mexico has increased because of ethanol. Fertilizer run-off from cornfields flows down the Mississippi River, feeding the vast “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico where fish and shellfish cannot survive. This problem has been exacerbated as corn ethanol production increased.