In one year, America will have exhausted 80% of her petroleum reserves. Will we then go to war with the Arabs for the privilege of driving our cars? Will we strip-mine our land for coal and poison the air we breathe to drive our autos an additional 100 years? Will we raze our forests for our energy needs? I certainly hope our country will never come to those conclusions. However, someone must make a conclusion hopefully toward an alternate fuel source. The fuel source I would propose is biomass fuel derived from hemp.
Hemp is the world s most versatile plant. It actually improves the soil in which it grows, without chemical fertilizers, while choking out weeds by virtue of its fast dense growth. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, over a twenty year period one acre planted with hemp produces as much pulp as 4.1 acres of trees. Farming hemp at such a fast rate is the key to providing large enough amounts of raw biomass at costs low enough to enable cellulose (the hydrocarbon provider necessary for fuel production) to recapture lost markets. This versatility has led people to believe it is the only biomass resource capable of making America energy independent.
There is only one catch: the federal government prohibited the growth of hemp in 1938. There were also theories that the major energy industries of the late 30s collaborated to ensure a petroleum-based energy market. Regardless of laws, let us consider hypotheticals. Farmers would be practically guaranteed profit if they could grow hemp for biomass. It also would not take long for a measly 6% of the American landmass to start cultivating hemp enough to replace our economy s dependence on fossil fuels. As this energy crop grew, it would take CO2 from the air stabilizing the CO2 content in the atmosphere. The threat of global warming and adverse climatic change will significantly diminish.
It is time for the federal government to respond to our current economic/environmental emergency by permitting America s farmers to grow hemp. It is also time for energy independence for this mighty nation.