The U. S. Department of Agriculture announced last week that the University of Nebraska-Lincoln would house one of five new federal biofuel research centers. The centers are funded with $10 million from the 2010 Agricultural Appropriations Bill and operated by the Agricultural Research Service and the U.S. Forest Service. The four additional centers, some operating from more than one location, will be located in Wisconsin, Arkansas, Georgia, Alabama, Arizona, Washington and Oregon. “We’re already America’s breadbasket,” Sen. Ben Nelson said, following the announcement. “Thanks to projects like these, we’re also becoming America’s gas tank.” Nebraska currently ranks second in the country in ethanol production, trailing only Iowa. Cornell University agricultural expert David Pimentel found in 2005 that corn-based ethanol requires 70 percent more energy to produce than the energy it yields. “Abusing our precious croplands to grow corn for an energy-inefficient process that yields low-grade automobile fuels amounts to unsustainable subsidized food burning,” he says.


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