Jobs sustainability and biofuels

Apparently a 100 000 gallon/year bioethanol plant may create 1600 jobs, according to sources quoted by Doug on his Moments of Clarity blog. And certainly the plant he talks about in Iowa does seem to Doug quotes the Des Moines Register as follows

Call any trucking firm in Iowa and see if they’re hiring truck drivers, and the answer will be, ‘Yes.’ There are a lot of reasons for that, but the biofuels industry is a big part of it.”

Each day, thousands of semi-trailer trucks deliver grain and other products to the plants, while tanker trucks and railcars haul fuel to market.

The plant may create jobs but as JM Keynes the economist, once facetiously suggested
that employing people to dig mines and have other fill them up created jobs. It is easy to create jobs but are they sustainable? What markets is the grain that is being used for the ethanol plant being diverted from? What is the energy balance of the plant. What about the water that is needed to grow the grain, does it all fall out of the sky or does it come from underground aquifers that Iowans and others use as drinking water? Who has first call on that resource? If we can answer some of those questions, then we’ve got a better idea about whether it really is worth while.
Lets exchange links.

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