The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Nick Berning, 202-222-0748
Kate McMahon, 202-222-0715

House Ag Chair's Embarassing Biofuels Hissy Fit

In stunning move, Rep. Collin Peterson attacks EPA for following rules he voted to put in place, then threatens to sabotage any attempt to solve climate crisis


The chairman of the House Agriculture Committee reportedly declared
at a hearing today that he "will not support any kind of climate change
bill" because he is "upset" that proposed EPA biofuels rules require
all global warming pollution resulting from biofuels production to be
taken into account.

In particular, Representative Collin Peterson (D-MN) is angry that
when calculating the amount of global warming pollution caused by
biofuels production, the EPA will take pollution caused by land use
changes into account. Demand for land on which to grow crops for
biofuels can lead to deforestation and destruction of grasslands and
wetlands, resulting in substantial pollution. Because of this, the 2007
energy bill, which Peterson voted for and was enacted into law,
requires the EPA to account for all land use impacts of biofuels.

"It's pretty stunning that less than two years ago, Peterson voted
for the law requiring the EPA to account for this pollution, but he
apparently now wants the EPA to break the law he voted for," said Kate
McMahon of Friends of the Earth. "The EPA indicated yesterday that it
plans to follow that law instead of doing Peterson's bidding, so now he
throws a temper tantrum. It's embarrassing."

"But there is also something profoundly serious here," said McMahon.
"Climate destabilization threatens the livelihoods of the very farmers
about whom Peterson purports to be concerned. According to a study by
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Carnegie Institution, climate
changes are already costing corn producers $1.2 billion per year
worldwide, and according to a new Environment America report,
the climate crisis is projected to cause $135 million a year in damages
to corn production in Peterson's home state of Minnesota. That's just
one of the parts of Minnesota's economy that will suffer. It's
appalling that Peterson is so cavalier about these impacts that he'd
threaten to oppose any solution to the climate crisis just because he
and some of his corporate agribusiness buddies are angry about biofuels
regulations. It shows how out of touch Peterson is with the gravity of
the threat climate change poses."

Friends of the Earth's response to the EPA's release of its proposed rule yesterday can be found here:

NOTE TO REPORTERS: Tomorrow Friends of the Earth will release a
report titled "A Boon to Bad Biofuels," documenting the massive federal
subsidies that the environmentally harmful biofuels industry is set to
receive over coming years. To receive an advance copy of this report,
please contact Kate McMahon or Nick Berning (contact info above).

Friends of the Earth fights for a more healthy and just world. Together we speak truth to power and expose those who endanger the health of people and the planet for corporate profit. We organize to build long-term political power and campaign to change the rules of our economic and political systems that create injustice and destroy nature.

(202) 783-7400