Ethanol Production is Killing the Gulf

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams
ethanol production is killing the gulf

First there were rumors of "tortilla riots" in Mexico. Then, as the price of corn-based feed skyrocketed, meat and egg prices rose. As hops farmers switched to corn, beer prices followed suit. And now MSNBC reports the booming corn-for-ethanol market is expanding the "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico. As farmers plant more corn and use more nitrogen-based fertilizer, they're increasing the amount of run-off that ends up in the Gulf via the Mississippi River. The nitrogen surge is leading to heavy algae growth, which depletes the water of oxygen (as it dies and decays), which suffocates shrimp, crabs, oysters and other sea life. Environmentalists say if something isn't done, the ethanol industry's knock-on effects threatents the Gulf's entire ecosystem and the livelihood of thousands of fishermen along the coast. Not to mention the escalating price of shrimp gumbo and oyster po'boys.

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  • Qwerty Qwerty on Jan 03, 2008
    Listen guys, I’m all for giving the chicken-littles their deserved chastising but this article is just a statement of fact. This dead zone in the Gulf is a scientific fact. The size of the dead zone is a direct reflection of mankind’s activities in the Gulf watershed. There’s no question about this relationship. Facts? Since when did knee jerk enviromental bashers ever need facts?
  • Tdoyle Tdoyle on Jan 03, 2008

    Dammit, I've had enough doom and gloom in 2007, now this takes the cake in '08 (patiently waiting for the next ice age)...

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Jan 04, 2008

    Qwerty, The "knee jerk environmental bashers" stopped needing facts when the environmentalists stopped using the scientific method. Two wrongs don't make a right, but they can make a lot of noise. This is a perfect example of why the academy should use objective self criticism instead of group think. The sowing has been done, enjoy the reaping. So much hype over things that aren't real, and now you have people doubting the existence of something you can walk down to the beach and see with your own eyes (without having to go to Mexico, btw).

  • SexCpotatoes SexCpotatoes on Jan 05, 2008

    Yes, let's process cellulose into ethanol: admittedly it is fiction, but it could actually happen.