Monday, July 23, 2007

For $25, Iowa Gives Ethanol Plants A Permit For Ten Years Of Water

There's short-sighted, there's really short-sighted - - and then there's Iowa's protectionist giveaway of its underground water to business that turn Iowa corn into ethanol.

It takes four gallons of water to turn out a gallon ethanol, so Iowa lets ethanol producers take as much groundwater as they want for a $25 permit.

That's good for ten years.

Ethanol does help reduce dependence on foreign oil, but corn is the most expensive, water-dependent vegetative source for ethanol, so there should be focus and incentives to turn to more sustainable and less water-reliant sources.

And Wisconsin, which is pushing corn-based ethanol, too, also needs to look to alternatives, a subject dealt with on this blog earlier, here.


Anonymous said...

Ethanol gives off more pollution in winter than regular gas so the "cleaner" summer ehtnaol use is cancelled out. than normal In that regard ethanol it offsets itself - there is very little gain. Ethanol is less efficient (maybe 25 percent or so) so you have to burn more per year as MPGs go down. Probably most importantly ethanol is subsidized heavily so actual cost is hidden and spread over the economy at large which does not show up in the happy talking points.

A final blow is that Ethanol can't go thru pipelines because it's too explosive so it has to be trucked everywhere.

So the claim that ethanol is helping to "reduce dedpendence on foreigh oil " is hardly supported and the wider view suggests that ethanol is functioning as
1) a feel good measure so people can say they're "doing something"
2) a way to make a quick pile of cash while the subsidies are in place

Wasting water on such a smoke and mirrors plan is a final kick in the nuts, I will agree to that. But it also behooves us to look at the hose job that ethanol likely is in the first place.

Anonymous said...

sorry about typos - in a hurry. i need a secretary to clean up my snark for me

James Rowen said...

Jody: We've all been there.