Monday, December 17, 2007

The Law of Unintended Consequences

For those who believe that petroleum is evil, and that ethanol provides an exciting and more ecologically pleasing alternative to gasoline produced from crude oil, you ought to read this:
U.S. corn boom has downside for Gulf

By HENRY C. JACKSON, Associated Press Writer Mon Dec 17, 4:02 PM ET

JEFFERSON, Iowa - Because of rising demand for ethanol, American farmers are growing more corn than at any time since World War II. And sea life in the Gulf of Mexico is paying the price.

The nation's corn crop is fertilized with millions of pounds of nitrogen-based fertilizer. And when that nitrogen runs off fields in Corn Belt states, it makes its way to the Mississippi River and eventually pours into the Gulf, where it contributes to a growing "dead zone" — a 7,900-square-mile patch so depleted of oxygen that fish, crabs and shrimp suffocate.

We have more crude oil in US territory than we could possibly extract and burn in 100 years and environmentalists put up such a fuss when any attempt at drilling is put forth that the oil companies neither drill in these places nor create new refinement facilities.

We now have the technology to extract oil from shale for example, and there are massive KNOWN deposits within the lower 48 states that they are not drilling for.

THAT's why we're paying $3.00+ per gallon of gas, not because of OPEC.

Our own US citizens are why gas prices are so high; it's not because of greedy oil companies, but radical environmentalism.

I don't want to destroy the environment, but at the same time, there has to be a bit of balance.

No new refineries in over 20 years? Can't drill in many locations where there is know to be oil?

That's not balance, that's stupidity.

As a counterpoint to all of that nastiness, here's one of my all-time favorite photos of the Gulf of Mexico.

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