Ethanol industry opposes EPA board that claims ethanol doesn’t help environment

The ethanol industry is refuting a claim from EPA’s Science Advisory Board that says ethanol-blended fuels don’t have any environmental benefits.

During his remarks to the panel on Thursday, Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper said the best available data shows the opposite. “We adamantly disagree with the commentary’s assertion that the best available science suggests there are “minimal or no climate benefits” associated with using corn ethanol in place of gasoline. In reality, the best available science shows just the opposite.”

Chris Bliley with Growth Energy says the science is clear that the Renewable Fuels Standard has helped the environment. “Today’s ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 50% compared to gasoline. Studies claiming otherwise consistently ignore hard data and in favor of questionable assumptions and outdated projections.”

CEO of the National Corn Growers Association Neil Caskey says US farmers are not using more land to grow corn and increasing their environmental footprint. “We are producing more corn on less land, and that trend will continue into the future.”

Brian Jennings, CEO of the American Coalition for Ethanol, says there is no fact-based debate regarding GHG emissions for ethanol compared to gasoline.

A SAB workgroup released a report in August saying the agency had not determined if ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions compared to gasoline or diesel. That was partly due to a concern over an increase in planted corn acres.  The SAB asked EPA to conduct more research into the role the Renewable Fuels Standard places in reducing GHG.

Dr. Peter Thorne, a member of the EPA’s Science Advisory Board says, “It really became clear that that this is not a settled issue in my mind, and that there’s a lot still to be understood. There’s different models and each of the models has their, their deficiencies and their strengths.”

The panel voted to accept the report and include revisions and public comments before submitting it to Administrator Michael Regan’s office.

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