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Obama's Energy Plans Fail to Address Our Water Woes

Obama's plans address clean energy and climate change, but are silent on the related implications for the nation's water supply.

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This year the EPA was supposed to make public a model for analyzing the greenhouse gas impact of biofuels production and use, including direct and indirect land use changes. Quantifying biofuels greenhouse gas emissions is important to making sure that taxpayer money going into biofuels expansion will actually have a positive effect on climate change. The most recent scientific research shows that when land use changes are included in these calculations, biofuels emissions are, in fact, worse than those of regular gasoline. The deadline for the EPA to create that model has now passed, but establishing reliable, science-based criteria for determining biofuels’ impact on climate change should be a priority for the new administration before moving ahead with these technologies.

Water levels in the Great Lakes, and in the nation’s major underground aquifers, are declining rapidly, while long term drought covers broad swaths of the nation. According to the Government Accounting Office, water managers in at least 36 states anticipate shortages by 2013. Planning for our long-term water needs is obviously essential. What is not quite as obvious is that energy planning must take water use into account.


Kyle Rabin is the director of Network for New Energy Choices .

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