Climate & Energy Blog

Friends of the Earth Sues, Petitions EPA re Failure to Properly Regulate Biofuels

Posted May. 25, 2010 / Posted by: Nick Berning

For Immediate Release:

May 25, 2010

Contact:
Kate McMahon, 202-222-0715, KMcMahon@foe.org
Caroline D’Angelo, 202-222-0714, CDAngelo@foe.org

Friends of the Earth Sues, Petitions EPA re Failure to Properly Regulate Biofuels

Friends of the Earth, represented by the Clean Air Task Force, takes aim at EPA’s use of outdated data and rosy projections about pollution from corn ethanol in federal biofuels mandate

Washington D.C.—The Clean Air Task Force and Friends of the Earth filed today a lawsuit to the EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in the U.S. Court of Appeals and petitioned the EPA to reconsider its assumption regarding land conversion.

The EPA’s finalized regulations for the RFS released in March 2010 do not meet standards set in Congress 2007 expansion of the RFS biofuels mandate. The 2007 RFS included requirements that biofuels reduce net greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional gasoline and diesel. Safeguards to protect natural ecosystems from biofuel crop production were also included.

Friends of the Earth Energy Policy Campaigner Kate McMahon had the following comment:

“The EPA must look at the impact that the biofuels mandate is having on global warming today and not use rosy projections about what the state of biofuel production will be in 2022. Using these projections ensures that for the next several years greenhouse gas emissions will only get worse, rather than better. The EPA also needs to take into consideration current research about existing land conversion for biofuels crop production and provide the congressionally mandated safeguards for natural ecosystems.”

The legal challenge results from the EPA using optimistic projections about emissions from biofuel production in 2022, rather than current data regarding emissions from biofuel production, to finalize lifecycle greenhouse emissions assessments. Using this flawed method, the EPA determined that all biofuels meet 2007 emissions standards, despite a growing body of research that indicate some biofuels result in worse emissions than conventional gasoline.

Friends of the Earth and the Clean Air Task Force also petitioned the EPA to reconsider its assumption that no natural ecosystems will be destroyed to create plantations. This assumption is based on outdated data and fails to account for recent USDA studies showing existing land conversion from biofuels. Due to this assumption, EPA regulations lack reliable measures to protect natural ecosystems in the United States from conversion into biofuel plantations.

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Friends of the Earth and our network of grassroots groups in 77 countries fight to create a more healthy, just world. Our current campaigns focus on clean energy and solutions to global warming, protecting people from toxic and new, potentially harmful technologies, and promoting smarter, low-pollution transportation alternatives.

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