Warts and Ethanol

[Grist Magazine] As ethanol boosterism spreads far and wide — from Bush’s bully pulpit to the New York Times editorial page to green-group press releases — a quietly emerging trend is threatening to undermine the biofuel’s environmental credibility. More and more ethanol manufacturers are looking to power their plants with cheap coal instead of its cleaner and increasingly expensive competitor, natural gas, thereby potentially limiting ethanol’s environmental benefits. And the Bush administration is doing its part to accelerate this trend. Under pressure from a group of senators and representatives from corn- and coal-producing states, the U.S. EPA is considering a rule change under the Clean Air Act that would relax pollution regulations on ethanol plants, clearing the way for them to burn coal with fewer restraints.
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