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Narrow Biofuels Win in 2010 House Interior Appropriations Bill; Major Loss for CAFOs

Posted Jun. 25, 2009 / Posted by: RConnors

The 2010 House Interior Appropriations Bill passed through committee with a narrow win for biofuels.  Representative Emerson introduced an amendment that would have prevented the EPA from completing its analysis of the full global warming potential of biofuels.  This would have ultimately allowed for biofuels that are worse than gasoline to continue to be pushed onto the market.

Friends of the Earth and others worked tirelessly throughout the day to prevent this amendment from passing.  Happily, the amendment failed narrowly, by one vote.

Anti-Emerson Amendment Letter

Several similar amendments circulated before the House floor vote that would have similarly prevented EPA from analyzing the full global warming impact of biofuels.  Fortunately, they were ultimate unable to introduce them, preventing what could have been a intense battle.

Letter on Biofuels Amend't in Interior Approps | Factsheet: Biofuels and Land Use Change Emissions

Unfortunately, a similar amendment passed in the committee mark-up which prevents EPA from analyzing the global warming emissions that come from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), or factory farms.  Studying the emissions here had no actual regulatory impact, yet corporate agribusiness does not want the data showing that meat produced in factory farms actually produces serious quantities of greenhouse gas emissions.

Overall, the common theme between both the biofuel and CAFO amendments was a broad attack on science.  Both amendments may have a had little regulatory impact, but instead would have prevented the EPA from merely examining and better understanding the broad range and types of emissions different agricultural sectors contribute to global warming.

Similar rider amendments are expected on the full Senate, which could be more difficult to win than in the House.  Stay tuned.

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