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Economics Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 521254, 16 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/521254
Research Article

The Impact of US Biofuels Policy on Agricultural Production and Nitrogen Loads in Alabama

1314 Mitchell College of Business, Department of Economics and Finance, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL, USA
2National Soil Dynamics Laboratory, United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, 411 S. Donahue Drive, Auburn, AL, USA

Received 13 March 2013; Accepted 29 September 2013

Academic Editor: Silvia Secchi

Copyright © 2013 Ermanno Affuso and Leah M. Duzy. 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.

Abstract

The Energy Independence Security Act aims to increase the production of renewable fuels in order to improve the energy efficiency of the United States of America. This legislation set the biofuel production goal at 136.3 million m3 by 2022, with approximately 79 million m3 derived from advanced biofuels or renewable fuels other than corn ethanol. A bioeconomic model was used to assess the potential impact of the biofuel mandate in terms of nitrogen loss associated with corn production in northern Alabama considering the El Nino Southern Oscillation phases. From simulations conducted at the watershed level, the expansion in biofuel production would increase the production of corn by 122.89% with associated increase in nitrogen loss of 20%. Furthermore, nitrogen loss would be more severe in climatic transition towards La Nina.