Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Wasting Water on Big Ethanol

Right now both Wilmette and the City of Chicago are bellyaching about a drop in water consumption (as an excuse to raise taxes, and fees on bottled water, in the case of Chicago). Wilmette also sells Lake Michigan water to landlocked, neighboring suburbs. (Do you think if we residents use more they'll give us a price break?)

But the price of water may go up anyway, as ethanol slurps up more than its share, especially in the Midwest. The Dem led Senate is pushing an energy bill for Big Ethanol, that big energy phony, that will cost us bigtime. In addition, the Chicago area already has among the highest gas prices in the country (taxes loom large here too, as well as another wrongheaded Congressional mandate for boutique gas). WSJ:
Heavily subsidized and absurdly inefficient, corn-based ethanol has already driven up food prices. But the Senate's plan to increase production to 36 billion gallons by 2022, from less than seven billion today, will place even greater pressure on farm-belt aquifers.

Ethanol plants consume roughly four gallons of water to produce each gallon of fuel, but that's only a fraction of ethanol's total water habit. Cornell ecology professor David Pimentel says that when you count the water needed to grow the corn, one gallon of ethanol requires a staggering 1,700 gallons of H2O. Backers of the Senate bill say that less-thirsty technologies are just around the corner, which is what we've been hearing for years.
Granted, our water supply around here is more plentiful than much of the rest of the Midwest, but we will be subsidizing this usage with our tax dollars, then paying more for our own water--a double whammy.

Water is a scarce resource and shouldn't be wasted to play politics.

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