Potential Environmental Impacts of Bioenergy Crop Production Page: 3 of 76
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ioenergy crops are receiving increasing attention as a potentially low cost
and large scale renewable source of energy. This report reviews how such
crops could potentially affect soil quality and soil erosion, water quality,
air quality, habitat for a variety of species, and the global environment.
From this analysis, it examines how research and development agendas for ener-
gy crops might be expanded to better understand these impacts and to reduce
potential negative environmental impacts and enhance the positive.
The report also briefly reviews other impacts of bioenergy crops, includ-
ing the potential relationship between energy crops, Federal agricultural sup-
ports, rural income, and national dependence on imported fuels. In the wake of
the devastating Midwest floods, energy crops might be considered as a more
robust crop for flood prone areas. Although energy crops have long-term poten-
tial, much research and development remains to be done in order to understand
the full range of their environmental impacts, positive and negative, and an
extensive political dialogue is needed to determine how best to balance the
numerous competing economic/environmental, rural/urban, regional and other
interests potentially affected.
This study is the first product of a larger assessment of renewable energy
technology requested by the House Committee on Science, Space, and
Technology and by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The full
assessment, to be published in 1994, will address environmental issues more
broadly as well as provide detailed analyses of: renewable energy resources; the
cost and performance of renewable energy technologies; commercialization
issues; and policy options.
OTA appreciates the invaluable advice and assistance of the many people
who contributed to this project, including the advisory panel, participants in the
workshop, reviewers, and contractors. OTA, however, bears the sole responsibili-
ty for the contents of this report.
Roger C. Herdman, Director
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United States. Congress. Office of Technology Assessment. Potential Environmental Impacts of Bioenergy Crop Production, report, September 1993; [Washington D.C.]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc39711/m1/3/: accessed January 20, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.