Streams

Ethanol, an Environmental Disaster?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Corn production has surged since 2007, when Congress required oil companies to mix more ethanol into their gasoline to reduce greenhouse gases. Associated Press reporters Matt Apuzzo and Dina Cappiello reveal that there are profound environmental consequences from increased corn production. Some 6.5 million acres of land set aside for conservation—more than Yellowstone, Everglades, and Yosemite National Parks combined—have vanished, while nearly 19 new million acres of corn have been planted.

Guests:

Matt Apuzzo and Dina Cappiello
News, weather, Radiolab, Brian Lehrer and more.
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Comments [6]

Jay F.

I missed the first part of this segment yesterday...
Why isn't there a podcast to listen to?

Nov. 15 2013 07:07 AM
David

Bravo, Chris, to your poem AND your hemp information!

Nov. 14 2013 03:27 PM
Chris Garvey from Amityville

Henry Ford was going to run his cars on hemp in 1937, an easily grown weed.
"Co-incidentally," the oil companies and the DuPonts banned hemp in that year, calling it marijuana.

Nov. 14 2013 01:57 PM
Chris Garvey from Amityville

Henry Ford was going to run his cars on hemp in 1937, an easily grown weed.
"Co-incidentally," the oil companies and the DuPonts banned hemp in that year, calling it marijuana.

Nov. 14 2013 01:56 PM
Amy from Manhattan

What progress is being made on cellulosic ethanol? If they could make ethanol from kudzu & other invasive species, would that be better environmentally & economically? Or would demand lead to a time when people would cut down forest to grow kudzu for fuel? What would be the environmental effects of the process of making cellulosic ethanol itself?

Nov. 14 2013 01:48 PM
Chris Garvey from Amityville

MTBE [Methyl Tertiary-Butyl Ether]
or
Congressional concern for the profitability of Archer Daniels Midland Co.

Listen my children,
And you shall see,
How we came to be drinking,
MTBE.
It started when Congress
Imposed on the land
A law whose effects
It did not understand.

Based on the fact that:
Exhaust is more clean,
If the fuel to air mixture
Is slightly more lean.
If rich mixtures were fixed
And you added O2,
Less unburned hydrocarbon,
Would waft over you.

And corn growers pushed
As an Oxygen source
Ethyl Alcohol
From their own corn, of course.
Agri-business promoted
With their massive donations,
To campaign funds; passed:
Mandates for oxygenation.

Ethanol is expensive,
Oil refiners could see.
So their chemists invented,
Some MTBE.
MTBE's good
For poisoning water,
Promoting: some cancers,
And mutated Daughters.

Uselessly sacrificed
To the poison elixir,
'Cause cars already had
Perfect air-to-fuel mixtures.
Exhaust sensors, computers,
Constant tweaking the mix,
Stoichiometric perfection,
Without chemical fix.

If you added more oxygen
To your fuel, here or there,
Your engine responded:
By taking less air.
So cleaner emissions,
Through MTBE,
Was a hoax pushed by greed,
Total fallacy.

Congress now wrings its hands
Over what it has wrought,
Proposing solutions
Devoid of clear thought.
Banning MTBE,
With which no one would fool,
Had not Congress required,
Adding O2 to fuel.

They'd love to retain
Two percent Oxygen
Imposing some ethanol,
Pandering to corn men,
But,
It's stupid to carry, or
Buy, in gasoline,
Oxygen, which is everywhere,
I've ever been.

So stop mandating Oxygen.
Stop it today,
And MTBE's monster,
Will soon go away.

Copr. 2004 C.Garvey

Nov. 14 2013 01:48 PM

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