The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Elliott Negin,Media Director,

Hearing Today Will Focus on Emissions Accounting for Biofuels

Groups Urge Rep. Peterson to Preserve Biofuel Science in Climate Bill


Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and nineteen other groups are
urging Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) to ensure that the federal
government uses all available science to determine the amount of
heat-trapping emissions biofuels produce.

Peterson chairs the House Committee on Agriculture, which will hold a hearing today
on climate and energy legislation introduced by Reps. Henry Waxman
(D-CA) and Ed Markey (D-MA). Environmental and science groups are
concerned with Peterson's recent efforts to short-circuit an ongoing
scientific process at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Specifically, Peterson is attempting to prevent the agency from
developing heat-trapping emissions standards for indirect land use
changes related to biofuels. Some biofuel production displaces food
crops and drives up commodity prices. This gives farmers at home and
abroad an incentive to clear new lands and cut down forests-activities
which release heat-trapping emissions.

is in the middle of a rigorous and transparent process to review and
improve the science of land use emissions accounting," said Dr. Jeremy
Martin, a senior scientist in UCS's Clean Vehicles Program. "Congress
needs to let the agencies bring all the science to bear on this issue."

Burke, director of UCS's Midwest office, said preventing science from
informing the climate and energy bill would be a mistake. "Ignoring the
science is the worst thing we could do to the biofuel industry's bottom
line," he said. "Investors want to put their money in clean, low-carbon
fuels, not fuels that need an anti-science loophole to survive in the

In a letter sent to Peterson
yesterday (pdf), the groups said, "Agriculture and forestry are poised
to be leaders in sustainable climate solutions and this represents an
historic opportunity for rural development. But to realize this
opportunity we need policies built on sound science, and science
supports the inclusion of indirect land-use change in the assessment of

The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.