Tonight, I attended a hearing regarding a local ethanol plant that is to be built here in my county on the outskirts of town. The hearing was busting at the seams with people. It was standing room only. I couldn't figure out if the majority were for the building of the plant or against it. Several of the people were from out of town, from pipefitter unions and such. I don't understand why they would be interested. I don't even know who was in charge of the hearings. I'm guessing it was the state's environmental agency because the discussion was about emissions and the permit the plant would have regulating the percentage of emissions (if I understand this right).
This community is practically void of new, decent paying jobs and the community is almost willing to have anything come here. There are also those NIMBYs who are worried about possible problems with safety. These NIMBYs are already surrounded by an airport and the landfill.
I imagine the reason so many people attended the hearing was because there was this huge half-page ad in the paper with pictures of other ethanol plant explosions and the fires they have produced. It kind of got MY attention!
Most of you who are polished up on your alternative/renewable energy points already know the finer aspects of ethanol production. I really feel compelled to write another LTTE regarding these points. I don't know if I will or not. Maybe I'll wait and see what others write-in before I do. You know, I would like to refer people to the facts regarding exponential growth and present consumption rates. In other words, whether we will need to choose between eating or driving because more and more arable land will be needed for the production of ethanol. I just have these gastly images in my mind 20 years from now when I think I'll see acres and acres of cornfields around me but unable to eat it, and I'll be starving all because it's being used for ethanol production!!!
Somebody at the meeting brought up that the ethanol plant would bring other businesses here including dry ice plants and dairy farmers???? How would this be? Why would a dairy farmer come here because of an ethanol plant? I envision the dairy farmer not being able to buy any land around here because it will all be used up for corn--->ethanol production!
Ah, well. I guess it's better than a nuclear plant in my backyard. People just don't seem to "get it" though. Everybody doesn't understand that no combination of anything will replace or cater to our present way of living and exponentially growing consumption rates like oil has. I guess I should be happy that people are willing to wean themselves off of oil. That's a step forward, at least.
ON EDIT: I found some interesting discussion about ethanol on The Oil Drum. I'm going to print a copy of the discussion, copy it off, and then send it to my mayor, the councils, and my opinion page editor of whom I know.