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Brazil eyes limits on Amazon sugar cane growth

by Staff Writers
Brasilia (AFP) Sept 17, 2009
The Brazilian government presented new legislation Thursday intended to protect the Amazon from deforestation by banning any new planting of sugar cane, widely cultivated for ethanol production.

"Now we can say that our ethanol is 100 percent green," said Environment Minister Carlos Minc announcing the proposed rules.

The legislation would ban new clearing or planting of the crop in more than 90 percent of Brazil's territory, as well as the construction of new factories in rainforested areas across the country.

The bill, which must be approved by legislators, encourages sugar cane cultivation in areas that have already been cleared.

Brazil, the top global exporter of both sugar and ethanol, has been fiercely criticized by environmentalists for allowing sugar cane plantations to encroach on the Amazon.

"This legislation is extremely welcome because it sends a clear signal to farmers and to the world that the government wants to exercise control" over the expansion of sugar cane cultivation, said Paulo Moutinho, a researcher with the Institute for Environmental Research in the Amazon.

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Researcher using melons to create ethanol
Lane, Okla. (UPI) Sep 7, 2009
A U.S. Agriculture Department researcher in Lane, Okla., says he has discovered a way to turn watermelons into ethanol. Chemist Wayne Fish said while investigating how to enrich the health benefits of watermelon, he discovered the sugar in the juice from cull watermelons could be transformed into ethanol, The (Oklahoma City) Oklahoman said Monday. Fish said a fermentation unit ... read more

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