Today The Times printed an article about a city's outcry against the construction of an ethanol distillery in Sparta, Wisconsin. Among the Spartans' concerns was the potential smell of “burned molasses or blackened popcorn.” But according to The Economist, the smell of ethanol, at least when propelling race cars, is a “pleasing aroma of warm corn fritters.” That’s not so bad now, is it?

The Times says the better-known philosophical objections "blame ethanol for rising food prices, or disagree with the federal subsidies." Now, add to that: a distillery would "mar the view from the municipal golf course." What about the fact that ethanol, especially corn ethanol, is not carbon efficient?? I've posted a little about this, and the commentors added a lot. The Times itself has previously reported a bit about ethanol's costs (although this article emphasizes the stress on water supplies, rather than the overall inefficiency of corn ethanol and the enormous carbon outflow initially necessary to implement it). Far as I can tell, biodiesel made from waste grease is a much better option.

Protesting the distillery, the Spartans printed T-shirts : "Good idea. Bad location." Guess I’ll have to Sharpie my own ethanol Tee to wear schlubbing around downtown DC: "Bad idea. Screw location."

--Francesca Mari