The theory of "indirect land use change" maintains that if an acre of corn in the United States is used for ethanol production, an acre elsewhere in the world will be converted to agriculture to make up for it -- and much of the focus has been on the sensitive ecosystem of the Amazon.
Is ethanol responsible for the deforestation of the Amazon? No, and that statement is backed by recent data out of Brazil.
Brazil's government has announced that annual deforestation rates have fallen to their lowest level in more than 20 years. This year's rate is almost half of that of the previous 12 months, and the lowest since records began to be kept in 1988. Read the full Christian Science Monitor article here. This is good news for the conservation of this precious resource.
It must also be noted that this drastic decline in Amazon deforestation is occurring at the same time that ethanol production in the U.S. is growing to record levels. Even after weathering difficult financial conditions, the U.S. is on pace to produce an all-time record amount of ethanol this year for use as clean-burning transportation fuel.
This chart helps us view the relationship between deforestation and U.S. ethanol production:
From 2004 to 2008, U.S. ethanol production has nearly tripled, from 3.4 billion gallons annually to more than 9 billion gallons. During this same time, deforestation has made just as steep a move -- in the opposite direction.
Biofuel critics' claims that ethanol is responsible for these kinds of international land use changes are simply not corroborated by on-the-ground evidence -- quite the opposite, actually. We agree that the environmental impact of all types of energy sources needs to be considered, but we insist that these policy decisions be based on sound science. Let's give ethanol some credit for the positives it has brought to our country economy, environment, and energy security, instead of making charges against it that are simply not valid.
The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Board of Directors met today (11/12/09) and elected officers for the upcoming year, bringing even more grassroots representation and diversity to the nation’s largest ethanol advocacy association.
Lars Herseth was elected as President of the American Coalition for Ethanol by his peers on the Board. He operates Herseth Ranch, his family farm near Houghton, SD, where he raises corn and soybeans along with a small cow/calf operation. Herseth serves on the Board of Directors for Northern Growers LLC, the more than 900 member shareholders behind the POET Biorefining – Big Stone ethanol plant in Big Stone City, SD. In addition to Big Stone, he is also an investor in the locally owned ethanol plants Glacial Lakes Energy LLC of Watertown, SD, Redfield Energy LLC of Redfield, SD, as well as Granite Falls Energy LLC of Granite Falls, MN.
Herseth served in the South Dakota State Legislature for many years, in the House of Representatives from 1975-1986 and in the Senate from 1989-1996. He held various leadership positions, including House Minority Leader, Senate Minority Leader, and Senate Pro Tempore. Lars is the father of South Dakota Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.
Herseth takes the reins from Brian Wilcox of Nebraska Public Power District who became Acting President earlier this year when the position was vacated by Bob Scott, whose company, POET Ethanol Products, resigned from the Board. POET and its representative Jeff Broin also resigned from the Board at that time to devote more time to the new trade association he formed last year.
Brian Wilcox was today re-elected to serve as Vice President, a leadership position he has held for several years. Owen Jones of 4 Seasons Co-op was re-elected as Treasurer. Jones is a farmer / rancher from Britton, South Dakota.
Duane Kristensen of Chief Ethanol in Hastings, NE was newly elected as the organization’s Secretary. Chief Ethanol began operations in 1985 and is Nebraska’s first dry mill ethanol plant. American Coalition for Ethanol founder and first president Merle Anderson of Climax, MN retains his seat on the Board and was granted the title Chairman Emeritus.
In addition to this slate of officers plus Chairman Emeritus Anderson, two additional directors were given a seat on the Board’s Executive Committee: Scott Parsley of East River Electric Cooperative and Ron Alverson of Dakota Ethanol, LLC. Alverson is a farmer from Chester, SD and Chairman of Lake Area Corn Processors, the cooperative behind South Dakota’s first farmer-owned ethanol plant.
“ACE is proud of its history as the grassroots voice for ethanol in America, and we’re confident that with the leadership represented in our slate of officers and on our executive committee, these grassroots voices will serve ethanol well in the future,” said Brian Jennings, Executive Vice President of ACE.
ACE is the nation’s largest ethanol advocacy association, with nearly 1,500 members nationwide, including farmers, ethanol producers, industry suppliers, rural electric co-ops, the agriculture community, and others supportive of ethanol.
A sincere thank you from the American Coalition for Ethanol to all veterans -- past, present, and future -- for your service and sacrifice. Let us remember these heroes this Veterans Day and every day.
Our hope is that through the spirit and ingenuity of America's farmers and entrepreneurs, this nation can stand more self-sufficient in the face of its energy needs. Clean, renewable, homegrown fuels like ethanol mean a future of greater energy security for all.
the midst of so much talk of the "indirect effects" attributed to
biofuels, there are two new opportunities to view the real impact of
petroleum -- on screen and in photographs.
The Real Price of Oil" is a film by Joe Berlinger that tells the story of the indigenous people of Educador vs. U.S. oil giant Chevron. The plaintiffs claim that Texaco (merged with Chevron in 2001) spent three decades contaminating one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth, poisoning the water, air, land, and people. Please take a few minutes to view the movie trailer here www.crudethemovie.com and then visit www.ethanolcollective.com to share your thoughts on the discussion board.
Renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky is currently displaying his work "Oil" at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. From 1997 through 2009 he traveled internationally to chronicle the production, distribution, and use of oil. The photographs are striking and well worth your time to view them online at this site: http://www.corcoran.org/exhibitions/press_burtynsky/.