The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Email:,info(at)fwwatch(dot)org,Seth Gladstone -,

Watchdog Tells EPA: Renewable Fuel Standard Should Not Bolster Dirty Energy

Agency’s proposed rule would incentivize ethanol and factory farm gas production

The national advocacy group Food & Water Watch has filed comments opposing a proposed EPA rule that would continue its reliance on ethanol and increase requirements for factory farm gas in the federal Renewable Fuel Standard program (RFS), arguing that the move would have negative impacts on the climate and environmental justice communities.

Designed to reduce fossil fuels in the transportation sector and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the federal RFS operates on the faulty assumption that replacing fossil fuels with other, dirty fuels will lower greenhouse gas emissions and pollution impacts. The proposed rule would serve to further entrench ethanol in the program and increase the production of factory farm gas. By the EPA’s own calculations, the proposal will raise near-term greenhouse gas emissions; filed comments suggest that actual RFS emissions are far greater, thanks to a consistent undervaluing of these dirty fuels’ climate impact.

Food & Water Watch highlighted the climate, environmental and environmental justice harms of the proposed rule, which would continue allowing dirty ethanol to account for the lion’s share of fuel under the program, while promoting expanded factory farm gas production and opening the door to carbon capture and hydrogen.

Food & Water Watch staff attorney Tyler Lobdell issued the following statement:

“The federal Renewable Fuel Standard is not just about fueling vehicles — it influences how we grow our crops, manage our livestock and support our rural communities. Shoddy climate accounting and false solutions have turned the program on its head. Far from its intended role to transform the transportation sector into a paragon of climate virtue, the RFS today is a substantial driver of pollution nationwide and the proposed rule threatens to make it worse.

“It’s not too late to course correct. The EPA must reduce the Renewable Fuel Standard’s reliance on dirty ethanol and factory farm gas, and refocus its efforts on incentivizing truly renewable sources like wind and solar to generate electricity for electric vehicles.”

Food & Water Watch mobilizes regular people to build political power to move bold and uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water, and climate problems of our time. We work to protect people's health, communities, and democracy from the growing destructive power of the most powerful economic interests.

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