15 Percent Ethanol Gasoline Could Benefit Indiana Corn, Harm Wildlife

May 9, 2018

President Donald Trump reportedly agreeing to allow year-round sales of gasoline with 15 percent ethanol could be food for Indiana corn growers, but environmentalists aren’t thrilled. 

Cory Harris is the public affairs manager for the Indiana Corn Growers Association. He says if gas stations can get the infrastructure to sell E15 gas, Indiana corn farmers stand to benefit. 

“It’s a really good opportunity to advance demand for corn and to increase production and utilization of a greener, friendlier, healthier biofuel product that’s made here in the U.S.,” says Harris.

But environmentalists say ethanol isn’t necessarily green. In a letter last week, the National Wildlife Federation and 17 other stakeholders opposed year-round E15 sales. David DeGennaro is the National Wildlife Federation’s agriculture policy specialist.

“The additional demand for corn for ethanol did lead farmers to convert a very large number of acres of natural habitat, native prairie, and other wetlands and forest areas,” he says.

Groups in the letter also cited other concerns like how the fuel impacts food prices and can harm small engines used in boats and lawnmowers. 

Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.