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A rail tank car at the Fire Service Institute, Champaign, Ill. on Sept. 7, 2016.
A rail tank car at the Fire Service Institute, Champaign, Ill. on Sept. 7, 2016.

Ethanol spills on the rise in the Midwest

An ethanol spill occurs every two days on average in the Midwest, the worst of which result in contamination of water supplies, major fish kills, loss of life and millions of dollars of damage. The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting found that as production and transportation of ethanol has risen dramatically in the region over the past three decades, so have ethanol spills.

A tank trailer at the Fire Service Institute on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016.

Reports question environmental good of ethanol

While ethanol has been hailed as an environmental boon, whether the use of ethanol as a fuel has a positive effect on the environment has been contested, even beyond spills.

Central Illinois already seeing effects of climate change

“We’re actually at the warmest part for the historical record for Illinois,” said State Climatologist Jim Angel, speaking to a crowd of about 60 at the Champaign Public Library on Tuesday. “This is a different climate for what our parents, grandparents or great grandparents would’ve experienced in Illinois.”

A storm hovers over an Illinois rural landscape on May 29, 2015. Extreme weather is likely to become more common in the Midwest under climate change conditions, according researchers and federal reports.

Join our community conversation on climate change

The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting and CU-CitizenAccess are hosting a public discussion on Tuesday, Nov. 29 on the local, regional and agribusiness impacts from climate change — ranging from flooding and the water supply to changing weather patterns and agricultural techniques.