The Department of the Interior is huge — more than 70,000 employees manage a half-billion acres of public land, mostly in the West. The department does everything from operate national parks to administer Native American social programs and manage wild horses.
Millions of acres of marginal farmland in the Midwest — land that isn't in good enough condition to grow crops — could be used to produce liquid fuels made from plant material, according to a study in Nature. And those biofuels could, in theory, provide about 25 percent of the advanced biofuels required by a 2007 federal law.
But there are many ifs and buts about this study — and, in fact, about the future of advanced biofuels.
Lucas Codognolla's hands shake as he waits in line at the Bridgeport, Conn., DMV for his turn to take the road test.
"I don't know if it's nerves or the excitement, you know?" he says.
The 22-year-old's family emigrated from Brazil when was just 9. When he turned 16 and wanted to get his driver's license, his parents sat him down and told him the truth: He was in the country illegally.
Initially, he lied to his friends about why he couldn't drive, he says. But then, as he got older, driving simply became necessary.