The National Academies

The National Academies: What You Need To Know About Energy

What You Need To Know About Energy

Water Implications of Biofuels Production in the United States (2007)

National interests in greater energy independence, concurrent with favorable market forces, have driven increased production of corn-based ethanol in the United States and research into the next generation of biofuels. The trend is changing the national agricultural landscape and has raised concerns about potential impacts on the nation’s water resources. This report examines some of the key issues and concludes that the water implications are complex, difficult to monitor, and will vary greatly by region. It also identifies opportunities for shaping policies to help protect water resources, such as alternative subsidies to reduce the impact of biofuels production; policies to encourage best agricultural practices; and policies to encourage the use of other plant products, which are thought to have less impact on water quality.

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