from A Year of Morning Thanks
There are two of them out west, both of them spewing steam like old factory smokestacks on cold winter days like today. One lies in a broad flat plain, a river valley, and virtually destroys the landscape. At night, the place lights up as if a chunk of Las Vegas fell out of the sky. They're not pretty.
But I’m thankful for both and dozens of others that have sprung up in the region because they’re at least doing something about America's insatiable need for foreign oil. Some say, and rightly so, we buy the armaments for both sides in Bush's War on Terror. Our refusal to reduce our dependency means only more favor and bucks spent on the Middle East and elsewhere, on governments and the people running them who are growing only more belligerent to us and our interests.
They’re not pretty—these ethanol refineries in our backyard—and I hope that researchers can come up with better remedies; I'm told that ethanol is already a third-rate innovation, of questionable ecological value. But I’m thankful that it seems we're beginning to recognize that we simply can’t go on guzzling the way we have.