September 22, 2010

Does Corn-Based Ethanol Production Threaten Bird Habitats?

There is an article that appeared yesterday on the Field and Stream blog that claims that ethanol production threatens bird habitats.

The dramatic increase in corn-based ethanol production is a perfect example of the enormous pressures being applied on fish and wildlife resources in our never-ending pursuit to satisfy energy demands. As more and more acres are taken out of CRP or grazing land and put into production, gamebirds have fewer and fewer places to nest and escape predators.

It is true that the number of acres currently enrolled in the CRP is over 5 million acres less than what was enrolled in 2007. But that has nothing to do with ethanol production.

The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 continued the CRP, but reduced the enrollment cap to 32 million acres. - Source

So, where do we stand with this new lower cap? Well, we just completed the first general sign-up in four years.

For this 39th general sign-up more than 50,000 offers were received on more than 4.8 million acres, nationwide. Enrollment of the 4.3 million acres will keep the program enrollment close to the 32 million acre statutory cap, which will maintain and enhance the significant environmental benefits the program has already achieved. CRP's 39th signup will bring the total enrollment in the program to 31.2 million acres, leaving sufficient room under the 32 million acre cap to continue enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, continuous signup and other CRP initiatives through FY 2011. - Source

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