Wetland conservation trumps ethanol plan


Brazil’s effort to boost alternative-fuels production recently came into conflict with another environmental priority—the need to protect the Pantanal, the world’s largest freshwater wetland system. The Pantanal won, but not before a leading local environmentalist committed suicide to protest the alternative-fuels plan, which called for construction of ethanol plants in a river basin near the wetland. On Nov. 30, the state assembly of Mato Grosso do Sul rejected a bill that would have allowed the plants. Proponents of the legislation had argued the project would aid the drive to develop alternatives to fossil fuels. But opponents countered that the hybrid plants, capable of making both sugar and ethanol from sugarcane feedstock, would become an ongoing source of pollution for the enormous wetland... [Log in to read more]

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