Federal Biofuels Mandate Remains in Full Force After EPA Rulemaking

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Nick Berning, 202-222-0748, nberning@foe.org
Kelly Trout, 202-222-0722, ktrout@foe.org

Federal Biofuels Mandate Remains in Full Force After EPA Rulemaking

WASHINGTON - The Environmental Protection Agency today released its final rule
for implementation of the federal Renewable Fuels Standard, which mandates a
massive increase in domestic biofuels consumption by 2022.

A key part of the
EPA's final rule is a model the agency has built to calculate the total
greenhouse gas emissions that are generated over the full course of the
biofuels production and consumption life cycle. The EPA decided to include in
its model the emissions that are produced due to changes in land use patterns,
something that environmentalists have called for and that the law requires.
Despite this, EPA analysts predict that in 2022, corn ethanol production is
likely to result in fewer greenhouse gas emissions than traditional gasoline.

Friends
of the Earth climate and energy campaigner Kate McMahon had the following
comment:

“Biofuels
production comes with many downsides. Biofuel crops deplete valuable fresh
water resources, and the pesticides and fertilizers used to grow these crops
pollute groundwater, streams and rivers. The demand for land on which to grow
crops for biofuels production also hastens destruction of important plant and
animal habitat, and it competes with the need for land for food
production.  Because of this, large-scale biofuels consumption is unlikely
to be a viable long-term transportation solution. Better approaches include the
use of more efficient vehicles, smart zoning and transportation plans that
reduce the need for driving, and the eventual use of clean electricity as a
vehicle fuel.

“Global warming
is another concern. The EPA's prediction that in 2022 most corn ethanol will
result in less carbon pollution than regular gasoline is surprising and strikes
us as highly optimistic, especially since the EPA acknowledged in its rule
finalized today that corn ethanol production is driving the destruction of
natural areas around the world, which in turn leads to biodiversity loss and
immense carbon emissions. The EPA's greenhouse gas emissions model should be
greeted with skepticism. We plan to examine the methodology that the EPA used
and to determine how it diverges from the methodology used by leading experts
who have found biofuels generate more carbon pollution than regular gasoline.

“Regardless, it
is now clear that the federal biofuels mandate, which requires a radical
more-than-300-percent increase in biofuels use over little more than a decade,
will remain in full effect. This mandate is a huge gift to the biofuels
industry. The industry does not need and should not receive other handouts. When
the biofuels lobby asks for massive and wasteful tax credits for corn ethanol
production later this year, Congress should reject them.”

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Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of the world's largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.

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