In an article titled Oversight Panel Sees Biofuel Crops Helping Chesapeake Bay Cleanup, growing more cellulosic biofuel crops in the Chesapeake Bay watershed can actually improve the water quality. This could not only clean the water but also help preserve its ecosystem which is very significant. The watershed’s farms, forests, unused fields and landfills has the potential to produce about 500 million gallons of fuel which is enough to replace the fuels consumed in the Washington metro area for 6 weeks. This does not include the land that are used for forestry, food or livestock production. Based on the study conducted by Pennsylvania State University, it was found that biofuels crop combined with traditional agriculture could help clean up the bay where the crops could act as a nutrient sink by taking in nitrogen and phosphorus that would have otherwise got into the water and fed the algae. The main crops suitable to plant is switch grass and other fast-growing cellulosic crops which could reduce erosion and pollution, although stricter rules are made to plant any crops in the bay’s watershed as said by U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson (Greenwire, Jan 12.). About 450,000 acres of Conservation Reserve Program land was identified as available for switchgrass by the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) which the National Wildlife Federation does not agree in using those land. The NWF argued that such lands would help develop biomass in the watershed but does not take biodiversity and conservation safeguards into account. It is interesting to look at the views of different activists and conservationists regarding a decision of using land for biofuels.
The article was from NY times and can be found at the link below: