Sometimes the best of intentions go wrong.
The AP has done a major investigation of corn ethanol and its damage to water resources and land.
Here are some of the key facts in the AP report: This year 43% of the corn crop will be used to make ethanol and 45% for animal feed. The AP estimates that the ethanol boom has caused 2 billion tons of extra nitrogen fertilizer to be spread on corn fields, with substantial amounts of it ending up in groundwater, rivers, and the Gulf of Mexico.
In some cases, the large amounts of nitrogen fertilizers have caused nitrate levels in river water to exceed human health standards, making the water unsafe for drinking, without treatment. But the problems caused by large amounts of nitrogen fertilizer go beyond fouling drinking water.
Nitrogen pollution contributes to dead zones in oceans around the world, including the Gulf Of Mexico. Indeed, the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is as big as Connecticut.
Unfortunately, at this point, nitrogen runoff is among America's largest water polluters, and corn ethanol is one of the main causes.