Stephen J Williams, Prairie Fire
Stephen Williams

for U. S. Senate
Independence Party

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Protecting our Environment

The green frog is native to the eastern half of Minnesota, this particular individual is native to a small pond on my farm. His message that corn ethanol is not green has been a conviction of mine since the use of ethanol as automobile fuel was first discussed. First, being a farmer I am very familiar with the fact that the production of corn consumes large Green Frogquantities of fossil fuel. Second, having studied chemistry in college I know that to distill ethanol from water requires an even greater amount of energy, generally in the form of natural gas. Different studies come up with conflicting results as to whether the energy in corn ethanol is more or less than the amount of energy used to make it. However, even the most favorable studies indicate that any energy gain is minimal and that corn ethanol could not possibly replace the petroleum used in automobiles. 

Besides the dubious energy economics, there are many other downsides to the production of corn ethanol. The pesticides used and the erosion caused by the production of corn, degrade both the land and the water. The increased demand for corn has caused corn prices to rise dramatically, which in turn increased the demand for land to be planted to corn, this decreased the amount of land available for other crops, decreasing their supply and increasing their cost.  So if you noticed a dramatic increase in food costs in the last year now you know why.

So what has the average American gotten for all the subsidies, tax breaks, and protections that have been given to the ethanol industry?
   Cleaner water? No.
   Cleaner Air? No.
   Lower fuel prices? No.
   Higher food prices? Yes.

Corn ethanol neither saves energy nor protects the environment. I believe in subsidizing the development of alternative fuels and fuel saving technologies, but we have spent enough on the development of corn ethanol, and it is time for it to stand on its own.