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10 Things Disappearing From America

From pensions to paid vacations, these things won't be around forever

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Prairie 185It’s hard to think of anything more stereotypically American than the prairies of the Midwest, but these flatlands are shrinking as the nation continues to tap the potential for green energy.

Specifically, U.S. prairies across the Great Plains are being converted into farmland to grow corn — not for food, but for fuel. The EPA will mandate that 15 billion to 15.52 billion gallons of renewable fuel be added to U.S. gasoline in 2014, most of which will be ethanol. And that level is actually a 3 billion-gallon decrease from 2013 targets.

Of course, this green initiative isn’t without its problems. According to an Associated Press investigation, “Plowing into untouched grassland releases carbon dioxide that has been locked in the soil. It also increases erosion and requires farmers to use fertilizers and other industrial chemicals. In turn, that destroys native plants and wipes out wildlife habitats.”

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