Clamor increases against ethanol benefits

April 21, 2005 at 11:17 AM
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FRANKFORT, Ky., April 21 (UPI) -- A growing number of U.S. critics are disputing the environmental benefits of ethanol, with some claiming it actually increases ozone and particulate emissions.

"There is growing evidence that when used in the summer with reformulated gasoline, ethanol actually creates more smog and fine-particle soot," said Frank O'Donnell, a longtime clean air advocate in Washington, D.C. "Ethanol has been oversold as a clean fuel."

His comments are backed by a new draft study from the California Air Resources Board, the nation's leading air pollution agency, and other reports, the Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal reported Thursday.

"Ethanol really doesn't do anything for fuel anymore," said Jerry Martin, a spokesman for the California air board, which has been locked in a six-year legal battle with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over permission to stop using an ethanol mixture.

However, advocates see ethanol as a renewable fuel made from homegrown crops like corn, and say its use can help reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

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