Sunday, May 6, 2007

Dennis Keeney: Ethanol's Power Politics

Dennis Keeney, Senior Fellow at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, and former director of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, was interviewed by Ben Kieffer, host of The Exchange on Iowa Public Radio, on May 5 2007.




Ethanol's Power Politics: Potential Social and Environmental Outcomes

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Ethanol’s Power Politics: Potential Social and Environmental Outcomes

Iowa State University, Environmental Science Seminar, Monday, February 12 2007.

Ethanol production using corn grain has exploded in the Upper Midwest. This has caught many planners unawares. Issues such as the availability of grain, transportation infrastructure, effect on other uses of grain such as poultry and swine, and even the ability to meet export contracts are being questioned. Short term outcomes of the biofuels policies include rapidly expanding acreage of corn at the expense of soybean and conservation reserve land and added stress on the region’s land and water resources.

Lost until recently in the whirlwind has been the potential impact of ethanol plants on natural resources, including water availability, water quality, biodiversity and farm structure. Each gallon of ethanol involves the loss of about 20 pounds of soil. Use of nitrogen fertilizer will increase as more land is put into corn, and if CRP is taken out of contract for more corn, loss of biodiversity will surely follow.

Ethanol production has the potential for economic and social upheavals as well.



PDF/PowerPoint slides available at

PDF/PowerPoint slides for similar presentation at the University of Iowa, May 4 2007.

I am very grateful to Dennis Kenney for providing the presentation and for permission to upload. I also wish to thank Bill and Karen Stansbery for the HeadsUp on The Exchange interview.

1 comment:

Mark C Reid said...

Looks interesting - I'll be sure to monitor your output!