In its desperate search for solutions to skyrocketing energy costs (see NotiCen, 2005-06-16), Central America may have stumbled upon an alternative that could end up costing even more. The production of ethanol, a plant-based combustible, can reduce the region's reliance on gasoline and diesel, but it could also hinder chances of passage of the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) in the US Congress. If the region becomes a producer and refiner of the alcohol fuel, it could also become an exporter to the US under CAFTA provisions. This would upset the carefully crafted arrangement by which US farmers are guaranteed protections in the domestic ethanol market, souring the Midwest on the trade deal.
NotiCen writers. "Region embrances ethanol; a CAFTA complication." (2005). http://digitalrepository.unm.edu/la_energy_notien/129