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1) More energy is used to make a gallon of ethanol than the ethanol contains, according to the only independent analysis of energy use in corn ethanol production. The fact remains that by the time that one BTU of ethanol is used, nearly 2 BTUs (ethanol and the energy used to make it) have been burned (even if you use the most favorable estimate that the ethanol industry itself makes). Both BTU’s have put pollution into the environment.

2) Ethanol does NOT make a contribution to energy independence. This is a conclusion of the state of MN in evaluation of their ethanol industry. You can do the calculations yourself. Using every kernel of corn produced in the US. will not make a substantial contribution to even the increase in energy demand that is predicted.

3) The best science says that using a blend of corn ethanol and gas in a car causes MORE pollution than gas alone. Not only are you burning energy to make ethanol, but ethanol makes gas more volatile, so when it is blended, more pollution is caused due to evaporation. This is supported by the work done at the EPA and by other scientific groups. California, with the help of a number of environmental groups is still fighting this requirement in the courts.

4) Many of the largest environmental groups now oppose corn ethanol. Yes, this is a change. Ten years ago ethanol looked like it might be a good idea, but we now know better. The Natural Defense Council & the Clean Air Trust are two that have joined California in suing the EPA over requiring ethanol

5) Last May the EPA released a report stating that ethanol plants are major polluters. They have been releasing many times greater pollution into the air than previously reported. The ethanol industry will tell you the answer is to fit your plant with a thermal oxidizer – but check out the news articles in St. Paul about the thermal oxidizer on the Gopher State plant. The St. Paul City Council recently voted to support closing down Gopher State.

6) Ethanol production uses a tremendous amount of water. People in WI have found that using too much water can have dire consequences. In many areas of WI the ground water is not being recharged as quickly as it is being used. This creates water quality problems in addition to simply the lack of water. When the water table is drawn down, changes can occur that actually cause contamination of wells - near Oshkosh wells are so contaminated with Arsenic that people cannot drink their water. ("Water Rich Water Poor" from Wisconsin Public Television, does an excellent job of presenting this issue.) In the Oshkosh area the arsenic was originally in a water insoluble form, however once the water table was drawn down past the layer that contained the arsenic, exposure to the air converted the arsenic into a water-soluble form. Once the arsenic is in a soluble form it can contaminate the wells.

7) Much of the water used by an ethanol plant must be discharged somewhere, possibly into a nearby creek or river. Although you may be told that the water is perfectly safe, internal memos written at the Wisconsin DNR state concerns about the release of such water without a sewage treatment backup.

8) Corn ethanol is the epitome of bad farm policy. Minnesota has found that corn prices do NOT increase around ethanol plants. They have at least 16 plants; many of them have been in operation for close to 10 years. Their conclusion is only the investors in the plants, not the local farmers, make any profit. In fact Archers Daniel Midland collects the lion's share of federal ethanol subsidies. Ethanol does nothing to support the typical family farmer.

9) Federal ethanol subsidies, which are billed as helping our farmers, are not even limited to crops produced in the U.S. ADM is importing ethanol produced in the Caribbean from surplus wine made in Europe  

10) Ethanol plants do not create more jobs. Minnesota concluded that the increased taxes to support ethanol subsidies cause more loss of jobs than those created by the ethanol plants.

11) Ethanol plants can create nuisance problems: huge increases in truck and rail traffic and odor problems that have been described as sickening.


NO to SB2222!