US lawmakers try to lighten renewable fuel restrictions

15 May 2009 20:31  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--A bipartisan group of US Congressmen are fighting provisions in proposed renewable fuel standards (RFS) that they say would severely restrict the amount of biofuels the country can produce, sources said Friday.

Many biodiesel producers fear that the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed RFS indirect land use criteria would force them to include the greenhouse gas emissions created when farmers increase cropland to grow more corn or soybeans for biofuels production.

Biofuels producers are concerned the rules would catagorise their product as causing too much greenhouse gas emissions for mandated use

More than 40 representatives filed a bill that would amend the RFS to expand the acreage available for growing biomass feedstock and strip it of indirect land use criteria that the industry considers burdensome. The bill would would be a boon for US biodiesel producers grains for their feedstocks, its proponents said.

House Agriculture Committee chairman Collin Peterson (Democrat-Minnesota), sponsored the bill, HR 2049.

“The RFS was established to expand the use of clean, renewable biofuels that can be produced in the United States and to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and the restrictions included ... will make it impossible to meet the RFS mandates,” the lawmakers said in a news release.

Created under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, the RFS calls for 36bn gal/year of biofuels to be blended into the national fuel supply by 2022. Of that, 1bn gal/year would be biodiesel.

The EPA has stood by the indirect land use provisions, saying they would measure the true environmental impact of increased biofuels use.

Manning Feraci of the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) told the agriculture committee last week that the indirect land use measurements would effectively kill the crop-dependent biodiesel industry.

Bookmark Simon Robinson’s Big Biofuels Blog for some independent thinking on biofuels
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By: Ben Lefebvre
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