The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Nick Berning, Friends of the Earth, 202-222-0748
Jonathan Lewis, Clean Air Task Force, 617-894-3788
Don Carr, Environmental Working Group, 202-939-9141

Biofuel Industry Attempts to Undermine Global Warming Standards

Environmental groups send letter to EPA calling on it to reject industry’s request and uphold the law


Environmental groups delivered a letter
to the Environmental Protection Agency today calling on it to meet its
responsibility under the law and reject a biofuel industry attempt to
weaken global warming standards for ethanol.

In the next few days, the EPA is expected to release
calculations of greenhouse gas emissions caused by biofuel use. In an
attempt to influence these calculations, the biofuel industry recently sent a letter
to the EPA asking it to break the law and ignore congressionally
mandated guidelines for how such emissions should be calculated.
According to the energy bill enacted last December, indirect emissions
such as land use change must be included in estimates of total
greenhouse gas emissions. Research shows that emissions from land use
changes such as deforestation can cause greenhouse gas emissions from
biofuels to be twice those of gasoline.

"It's telling that the biofuel industry and its supporters have become
so accustomed to government handouts that they took offense when
Congress asked for proof that federally subsidized ethanol and
biodiesel will reduce greenhouse gas emissions," said Jonathan Lewis,
an attorney for the Clean Air Task Force. "But research indicates that
biofuel production contributes to global warming, and the United States
can no longer support biofuels without regard to their environmental

"The EPA must follow the law and account for all greenhouse
gas emissions from biofuels," said Kate McMahon of Friends of the
Earth. "The industry's attempt to pressure the EPA to disregard legally
required standards is preposterous. Biofuels are making global warming
worse. The EPA must take this into account."

"We are merely asking the EPA to accurately measure greenhouse gas
emissions from every step in biofuel production. In times of tight
budgets, taxpayers have the right to know if they are subsidizing fuel
that makes the climate crisis worse. EPA should suspend the renewable
fuels mandate unless it can clearly demonstrate that biofuels are
effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions," said Sandra Schubert,
the director of government affairs at the Environmental Working Group.

The groups' letter can be viewed here: