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Ethanol Investigation Dispute
ANAMOSA, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- Some Iowa Farmers say it's a slap in the face.
"For somebody to come out and tell me what I'm doing is destroying the environment, I take odds with that," farmer Gary Edwards said.
Environmental groups on the other hand say it's a confirmation.
"The corn ethanol being produced today is worse for our climate than gasoline," said Jonathan Lewis with the Clean Air Task Force.
Either way, an investigation by the Associated Press on ethanol practices has polarized both sides.
The news agency says ethanol practices nationwide are destroying the land and polluting the water. Anamosa farmer Gary Edwards, who has been farming for decades, says he does what he can to avoid that.
"If you use cover crops, if you use numerous different ways of controlling your water output, there's no problem in raising corn," Edwards said.
The AP investigation also says higher demand for ethanol is a big reason for higher corn prices over the years, causing farmers to plow conservation land. Edwards says drought conditions over the years are the real culprit
"It's caused by the weather, not the extra demand."
He says from droughts, to polluted runoff, there's only so much he can control.
"The farmer is not in the business of just doing things because he's a good guy," Edwards said. "He's in the business of making money and supporting his family."
National groups like the Clean Air Task Force agree.
"Farmers are like the rest of us, they're looking to maximize the return on the investments they make," Lewis said.
The problem, they say, lies in the policies.
"Which are creating all this demand for corn because of the ramp up of the renewable fuel standard."
The environmental protection agency is expected to announce soon how much alcohol it will require refiners to mix into gas in 2014. A draft version of their announcement shows that they may lower the amount back to 2012 levels.