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North Dakota’s BioFuels “To Do” List

October 18, 2007

Fargo, ND – North Dakota is just entering the new world of biofuels, with two active ethanol plants and more on the drawing board. But a new report from the National Academy of Sciences finds augmented ethanol production could also increase pollution from agricultural runoff. Martha Noble with the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition argues that it's critical for North Dakota to plan ahead, in order to create an agricultural system that will provide both ethanol and clean water.

"It's important to examine beforehand what the best kinds of crop mixes are to create good conservation, and not investigate the data as an afterthought."

Noble says her group would like to see an additional $5 billion for conservation programs in the new U.S. Farm Bill. She believes it is particularly important this year, because of the demands agricultural producers are putting on North Dakota's farmland.

"The harder we press that soil, the more we are going to need good conservation work and sufficient funding as we add fuel production to an already over-stressed terrain."

Noble says performance-based conservation incentives can help create an agricultural system, which includes biofuel production and meets water quality criteria and other environmental standards.

The full report is available at

Dick Layman/John Robinson, Public News Service - ND