Do you think right about now they are wishing they had a couple of water-guzzling corn ethanol plants contibuting to the local economy?
The severe drought tightening like a vise across the Southeast has threatened the water supply of cities large and small, sending politicians scrambling for solutions. But Orme, about 40 miles west of Chattanooga and 150 miles northwest of Atlanta, is a town where the worst-case scenario has already come to pass: The water has run out.
Three days a week, the volunteer fire chief hops in a 1961 fire truck at 5:30 a.m. – before the school bus blocks the narrow road – and drives a few miles to an Alabama fire hydrant. He meets with another truck from nearby New Hope, Ala. The two drivers make about a dozen runs back and forth, hauling about 20,000 gallons of water from the hydrant to Orme’s tank.
Now, picture that taking place in Nebraska, or some other place that is irrigating corn to turn into ethanol. Of course the ethanol plants would come screeching to a halt, but not before the damage is done to the aquifers. This is one of the more serious consequences of corn ethanol, in my opinion. Once we deplete the topsoil and pull down the aquifers to displace a percent or two of gasoline, we will be one good drought away from a food crisis.