Category Archives: Ethanol Spill

The Problem With Feel Good Legislation

Train Derailed Leaked Ethanol Into Mississppi RiverThe Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 requires 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel be used by the year 2022.  This feel good legislation, while born out of good desire to be energy independent, was based on bad science.

The success of the Brazil’s experiment with sugarcane ethanol was one of the case studies used to validate the U.S. to mandate corn-based ethanol.  The problem for the U.S. is that sugarcane ethanol has an energy balance of seven times greater than corn.

E.P.A. studies have also shown that ethanol has increased smog in many U.S. cities and the net production of energy greater than the energy to grow, harvest, and convert corn into ethanol is a breakeven, maybe.

One study from several years ago said if the entire world converted to just one-half the U.S. standard of 10% ethanol, the world would have to double its agriculture production.

On November 7, 2015 five tanker cars of a BNSF Railway freight train derailed in Alma, Wisconsin and is now  leaking ethanol into the Mississippi River.   I’ve been to Alma many times and it is one of the most spectacular views along the Mississippi River.

In conclusion…Renewable energy is a wonderful goal, but let’s use good science and common sense.  And finally, ethanol is toxic and can cause poisoning if enough is ingested.  Maybe the idea of burning corn should be repealed and sounder solutions found.