The high costs of ethanol production and pressure from environmental agencies have forced some lucrative companies to go elsewhere in their drive to produce more grain for the production of ethanol. Ethanol, the major ingredient of E85 biofuels used by Flex Fuel vehicles which can run on mixes and even pure ethanol is now gaining more and more in the area of demand with the price of oil hovering at the 100 USD mark. The Amazon Rainforest and some other Southern American countries are bearing the brunt of the greed of certain individuals and corporations who want to avoid the heavy price for pollution, relocating to countries with little or even no environmental control policies that aim to prevent pollution and control industry’s impact on the fragile environment.
The Amazon Rainforest is considered to be the last most biologically diverse area on earth which is now under pressure from international conglomerates for the production of corn and soy for use in ethanol production. Corruption in these normally developing countries makes it easier for unscrupulous individuals to get permission from government personnel who are under their payroll to clear and plant crops for export overseas. These industries use the term economic opportunities for the locals whom they employ (which is actually due to cheaper labor) in their fields and the benefits to the economy (which is only for the short-term goals) for forest land is not suitable for cultivation due to it’s poor soil quality. The poor soil necessitates the heavy use of fertilizers and pesticides to allow crops to produce more grain which in turn washes into the rivers and streams. The normal flow of nitrogen from forests and other wild lands are naturally controlled by organisms which live in them but too much leaves them ineffective thus allowing the residue to end up in our seas. Too much nitrogen in the sea stimulates algae to bloom uncontrollably eating up most of the oxygen in the water that is vital for a healthy water ecosystem. The reefs and fish die off or move on to better habitat leaving coastal areas void of life. The reefs do recover but it takes time (decades actually) but continued cycles of algal blooming will result in permanent dead-spots/areas in our coastal areas if the root of the problem is not addressed promptly.
Originally posted on March 19, 2008 @ 9:41 am