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Resources 2014, 3(4), 721-733; doi:10.3390/resources3040721

The Economics of Mitigation of Water Pollution Externalities from Biomass Production for Energy

1
Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, 262 Research Station Drive, Bossier City, LA 71112, USA
2
Department of Geography, Chonnam National University, Buk-Gu, Gwangju 500-757, Korea
3
Department of Agricultural Economics, Texas A&M University, 600 John Kimbrough, 2124 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-2124, USA
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 October 2014 / Revised: 27 November 2014 / Accepted: 28 November 2014 / Published: 5 December 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alternative Energy Sources in Developing and Developed Regions)
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Abstract

To fulfill the national bioenergy goals of the United States, conversion of marginal lands to intensive biomass crop production and/or application of greater amounts of nutrients to existing cropland could be expected. Such change in agricultural practices could produce unintended environmental consequences such as water quality degradation. Select Best Management Practices (BMPs) are evaluated for water quality mitigation effectiveness as well as for their relative cost-effectiveness, issues that are often ignored in evaluation of biofuels as a sustainable solution for energy demand. The water quality impacts of converting pastureland to intensive biomass production for biofuel, evaluated using the Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), indicate significant increases in erosion and nutrient loadings to water bodies. Hydrologic and economic evaluation of the BMPs indicate their implementation produced effective water pollution mitigation but at substantial costs, accentuating the sustainability issue related to the economics of renewable fuels. U.S. national energy policy designed around achieving energy independence should also consider environmental and economic trade-offs for biofuels to be an economically and environmentally sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. View Full-Text
Keywords: biomass; externality; mitigation; best management practices; renewable fuels; sustainability biomass; externality; mitigation; best management practices; renewable fuels; sustainability
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Adusumilli, N.; Lee, T.; Rister, M.E.; Lacewell, R.D. The Economics of Mitigation of Water Pollution Externalities from Biomass Production for Energy. Resources 2014, 3, 721-733.

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