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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Conservation Systems Research for Improving Evnironmental Quality and Producer Profitability Title: The impact of the U.S. biofuels expansion on non-point source pollution from nitrogen in a marginal agricultural area

Authors
item Affuso, Ermanno -
item Duzy, Leah

Submitted to: Economics Research International
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 29, 2013
Publication Date: November 25, 2013
Citation: Affuso, E., Duzy, L.M. 2013. The impact of the U.S. biofuels expansion on non-point source pollution from nitrogen in a marginal agricultural area. Economics Research International. vol. 2013, Article ID 521254, 16 pages, 2013. doi:10.1155/2013/521254.

Interpretive Summary: The Energy Independence Security Act aims to increase the production of renewable fuels in order to improve the energy efficiency of the United States. The goal of this legislation is to produce 36 billion gallons of biofuel, primarily corn ethanol, by 2022. The potential impact of the biofuel legislation is assessed in terms of nitrogen loss associated with corn production in Alabama assuming different weather patterns. Based on agricultural production in Lawrence County, Alabama, the expansion in biofuel production would increase the production of corn with associated increase in nitrogen loss.

Technical Abstract: The Energy Independence Security Act aims to increase the production of renewable fuels in order to improve the energy efficiency of the United States. The goal of this legislation is to produce 36 billion gallons of biofuel, primarily corn ethanol, by 2022. A bioeconomic model is employed, including climate information, to assess the potential impact of the biofuel mandate in terms of nitrogen loss associated with corn production in a marginal agricultural area in Alabama affected by El Nino Southern Oscillation phases. From simulations conducted at the watershed level in Lawrence County, Alabama, the expansion in biofuel production would increase the production of corn by 63.56% with associated increase in nitrogen loss of 3.35%. This figure is consistent with previous studies conducted at the national level. The nitrogen loss would be more severe in La Nina events.

Last Modified: 10/25/2014
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