Add Your Voice to Save California’s Bees & Clean Up Our Air
Every acre plowed up this last spring to grow corn for ethanol is delivering a blow to California’s commercial bee colonies and efforts to clean up California’s air.
Growing corn for ethanol has caused the loss of huge swaths of grassland habitat—and plowed under millions of acres of land that California’s commercial bees depend on for summer forage when they are not pollinating crops. California’s commercial bees are essential to pollinating billions of dollars worth of crops and employing ten-of-thousands of Californians growing almonds, alfalfa, melons, citrus, avocados, and sunflowers. Destroying more grassland to grow corn for fuel will put already stressed bee colonies in further jeopardy and there are efforts underway in Washington DC to increase the use of corn-ethanol in our fuel from the current 10% (also known as E-10) to 15% (E-15) which will mean millions more acres of grassland will be lost.
Increasing the use of corn-ethanol will also impact California’s air quality and contribute to increased levels of ground-level ozone – which we all call smog. In warmer summer months, ethanol increases the amount of ground-level ozone generated by gasoline. In addition to making the air hazy, smog is a lung irritant that contributes to asthma and other breathing trouble. The vapors that form it are also potentially carcinogenic. Studies have clearly shown that increased usage of ethanol in gasoline leads to higher smog levels, particularly in heavily populated areas. Again, higher ozone levels are associated with asthma and other respiratory problems, especially among children and the elderly. California has made tremendous gains in cleaning up our air and we cannot afford to rollback any of those hard won victories.
Members of Congress from both parties are looking at reforming the corn-ethanol mandate in the renewable fuel standard this year—please add your voice so they know you want to stop further loss of summer forage lands for bees and that we all deserve cleaner air!
To learn more about the need to reform the corn-ethanol mandate, to volunteer, or to share your story about how the corn-ethanol mandate has impacted you in California - visit our campaign page at: https://www.pcl.org/campaigns/reform-corn/.