Growing Ethanol Industry Creates Efficiency Concerns

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During a swing across Western Wisconsin Thursday, Governor Jim Doyle announced a five million dollar commitment to bio-industry within the state budget.

It'll keep ethanol production growing across the state.

"This could be a great win for the state of Wisconsin, for our economy, and also for the United States in that we lessen our dependence on mideast oil," said Governor Doyle.

It's hardly debate-free. A recent study makes sure of that.

It shows that making ethanol takes about 29-percent more energy to make than it creates in fuel.

"To take corn and convert it into ethanol and to have to import oil to do it is a bit dumb," said Dr. David Pimental, who co-authored the research.

He did a study like this about a quarter-century ago, and that the Government Accountability Office confirmed he was rght, but a local ethanol producer says he was against ethanol from the start.

"He does studies," Bob Sather of Ace Ethanol said, "independent studies for big oil companies, consortiums that are non profit, so I suggest that the study is biased in itself."

Bob Sather would rather you trust in a U.S.D.A. study that shows ethanol is almost two percent energy positive.

The arguement that both sides share is that the other guy's study is flawed. Meanwhile, the Governor is convinced that ethanol is energy positive and he wants to do what's best for Wisconsin's farmers."

"This is a good thing for wisconsin," the Governor said.

Sather asks, "Do you want your energy to come from farmers or from terrorists in places that are not reliable?"

Governor Doyle says he hopes increased ethanol production helps make Wisconsin the most reliable place in the country for bio-based industry.