Reuters: Pelosi to Obama: boost U.S. biofuels program ahead of Paris talks
NEW YORK | By Chris Prentice
U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and three other lawmakers are pressing President Barack Obama not to back-peddle on the country’s biofuels program just days ahead of global climate change talks in Paris.
The Democratic Representatives – Pelosi from California, Steny Hoyer from Maryland, Collin Peterson from Minnesota, and David Loebsack from Iowa – asked the administration to rethink a proposal for the controversial Renewable Fuel Standard and to keep the program “robust” in a letter dated Nov. 18.
The push comes just over a week ahead of a Nov. 30 deadline for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to finalize mandates for renewable fuels use through 2016. That date coincides with the start of the Paris discussions.
The EPA in May proposed requirements for the amount of biofuels blended into the country’s transportation fuel stream that were below requirements set by Congress in 2007.
“We hope you will keep in mind the need to reduce carbon pollution, and not expand it in the transportation sector in the days leading up to the President’s historic efforts” in Paris, they said in a letter to Brian Deese, an assistant to the president and senior adviser.
EPA reduced the mandates around the principle of the “blend wall,” which oil groups say is the saturation point for ethanol use in the fuel stream without greater infrastructure change.
The plan drew ire from both biofuels groups and oil companies alike, and both groups have been ratcheting up their lobbying and advertising spending ahead of the EPA’s deadline to finalize the rule.
The lawmakers, who met with Deese on Oct. 29, also emphasized the importance of correcting errors in the mandates related to “more accurately reflect” gasoline demand projections and biofuels exports.
Politico: Biofuels Group Touts GHG Analysis
Just days before EPA is slated to release its latest Renewable Fuel Standard mandate, the Renewable Fuels Association is touting an analysis concluding that the program has saved over 354 million metric tons of carbon dioxide so far. It’s the latest salvo in the environmental war in which the RFS’s critics argue that corn ethanol, which makes up the bulk of RFS biofuel requirements, has little climate benefit over petroleum fuels. The report, from the consulting firm Life Cycle Associates, said the reductions were higher than expected despite the slow growth of cellulosic because corn ethanol technology improved and EPA underestimated baseline petroleum emissions.
Center for Regulatory Solutions begs to differ
The anti-RFS non-profit will release a report looking at the greenhouse gas impact of the RFS on Illinois today, the fifth in a series by the nonprofit. The report says corn ethanol production and consumption added 4.1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions in Illinois between 2005 to 2014.