September 23, 2009

Legislation takes aim at land use change theory

Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson, along with Iowa Senators Tom Harkin and Chuck Grassley, have introduced legislation that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from using indirect land use change estimates as it implements the expanded Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS-2).

As noted in the news release from Nelaon, EPA's proposed regulations would penalize U.S. biofuel producers for greenhouse gas emissions that the EPA claims result from changes in land use in other countries allegedly caused by the increased production of biofuels in the United States.

The proposed amendment to the Senate Interior-Environment Appropriations bill would prohibit the EPA, for one year, from spending funds to include international indirect land use change emissions in the implementation of RFS-2.

The Senators also noted that, at this time, the data and analytic methodologies for credibly calculating international indirect land use change emissions do not exist.

"Because of this, including these international emissions in the EPA’s rule would put an unjust burden on the biofuels industry," they said.

“Biofuels are an important part of the diverse energy mix that will reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy,” said Nelson. “This amendment will stop the EPA from using inaccurate or incomplete calculations that could compromise our ability to expand production of biofuels. More complete studies need to be conducted before land use calculations can be effective.”

Several ag groups support the proposal.

According to a blog byDTN's Chris Clayton, Sens. Nelson and Grassley have also joined South Dakota's John Thune and Tim Johnson to require the EPA to raise the ethanol blend level from e10 to e15.

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