Chesapeake Bay Foundation — more corn acreage, more pollution

Growing more corn for ethanol in the mid-Atlantic region will mean increased pollution in rivers, streams and the Chesapeake Bay, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation notes. The CBF cited a report showing that significant expansion of corn acreage will require more nitrogen fertilizers and lead to increased runoff.

To meet the growing demand for corn, the region’s farmers are expected to increase corn planted in the watershed by 500,000 to 1 million acres over the next few years,” said Tom Simpson, the lead author and Regional Coordinator of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Water Quality Program. “Even under relatively well-managed crop rotations, increased corn acreage will lead to increased nitrogen fertilizer use, and an increase in nitrogen pollution.”

CEI publications during the past year — see here and here and here and here — have been pointing out that government mandates for ethanol and the huge subsidies for corn-based ethanol production have serious unintended consequences. These include increased pollution, higher food prices, higher land costs, and other problems caused not by supply and demand in the marketplace, but by the government determining what is to be supplied — ethanol — and demanding its use. Also check out CEI’s website