The Aug. 8 front-page article “Prairie, farmers’ old enemy, could be their lifeline,” about the environmental importance of Midwestern prairies, failed to mention why prairies are still being lost. The main reason over the past decade has been the ethanol mandates Congress passed in 2005 and vastly expanded in 2007. Prairies have been plowed under and turned into cornfields in order to provide fuel for the country as well as food for the world.
In 2005, corn was planted on 81 million acres. This year, it’s up to 94 million acres. Thus, the ethanol mandate is contributing to habitat loss, more water pollution runoff and soil erosion. Ending this government boondoggle would improve the environment as well as save money for customers at the gas pump.
Jennifer Montazzoli, Chagrin Falls, Ohio
The writer is a research associate for the Competitive Enterprise Institute.