Ethanol Mandate Could Force Delicate Balancing Act

FEBRUARY 17, 2006 - Posted at 5:36 p.m. CST

JEFFERSON CITY, MO - Supporters say ethanol can revitalize rural economies.  And Governor Blunt wants to mandate a ten percent ethanol blend in Missouri gasoline.

But there are some environmental concerns about the proposal.

The Department of Natural Resources supports the mandate.  But the agency has cautioned that a ten percent ethanol blend can increase ozone emissions, a concern for people with asthma and businesses that might be required to use more expensive air cleaning procedures to meet clean air standards.

Rural lawmakers say ethanol increases corn prices while its production byproducts can also be sold to bring in more money for farmers.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)