Pubdate: Tue, 27 Nov 2007
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2007 The Toronto Star
Author: Russell Barth


Re: The needle and the damage done

The cure to our oil addiction is industrial hemp, but no one wants to 
talk about it because it looks like marijuana. In fact, everything 
that we make with crude oil can be made better, cheaper and cleaner 
with hemp. Hemp doesn't require chemical fertilizers and pesticides 
to grow tall and strong; it grows in even marginal soil. And while it 
provides food from the top of the plant, it provides fibre and fuel 
from the stalk.

One acre of hemp can produce up to 1,000 gallons of methanol in four 
months. In the southern U.S., that could mean 3,000 gallons per acre 
per year. If the U.S. would sow just 10 per cent of its farmland with 
industrial hemp instead of corn, enough methanol fuel could be 
produced to almost completely end the use of gasoline.

But the oil barons don't want anyone to know that. Small 
ethanol-producing plants in every small community on the planet would 
have to loosen their stranglehold on all of us, so it looks like we 
are stuck with crude oil, and the wildly cost-prohibitive 
alternatives, for at least another generation.

Russell Barth, Ottawa
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