Intervention in University of Iowa ethanol spat was appropriate, regent says

Researcher claimed in speech that ethanol industry's water use was depleting groundwater supply

Regent Bruce Rastetter is defending his request for University of Iowa President Sally Mason to have a prominent environmental researcher speak with ethanol industry lobbyists upset over a recent speech.

Rastetter said Tuesday that he was trying to encourage a dialogue between industry officials and Jerry Schnoor, director of the university's Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research.

Schnoor gave a talk last month in Washington warning that ethanol plants were using so much water that they were depleting the groundwater supply. One ethanol industry leader sent an email calling Schnoor an embarrassment to the university.

Rastetter forwarded that email to Mason and asked her to allow the industry to give Schnoor "factual information so this professor isn't uninformed."

Rastetter denied claims that he was trying to shape university research.

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