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New rules on corn ethanol may hurt environment

Source:  Copyright 2010, Reuters
Date:  February 17, 2010
Byline:  Ayesha Rascoe
Original URL: Status ONLINE

U.S. corn growers expressed relief when the Obama administration unveiled new environmental rules that would boost use of corn-based biofuel, but green groups complained the guidelines may fill the air with nitrogen, a greenhouse gas viewed as more potent than carbon.

The Environmental Protection Agency unveiled what amounted to a tweaking of the national renewable fuel standard in early February, and still found that ethanol made from corn is still cleaner than conventional gasoline, dashing the hopes of some critics who opposed using food to create fuel.

The EPA's new assessment basically calls for corn ethanol output to rise from around 12 billion gallons this year to around 15 billion gallons annually starting around 2015, which the industry was already on track to reach regardless of agency's action.

"The effect in reality on the industry is pretty much negligible," said John Sheehan, biofuels program director at the Institute on the ...

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