(Posted Thu. May 23rd, 2013)
May 23: The National Corn Growers Association today submitted comments on the impact of the Renewable Fuel Standard to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce in response to their third white paper, “Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Other Environmental Impacts.” In these comments, NCGA addressed how the RFS has decreased greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s vehicle fleet while leading to innovations that have made U.S. agriculture more sustainable and ethanol facilities more efficient. It also noted that unnecessary Congressional tinkering with the RFS would jeopardize investment in advanced and cellulosic biofuels, undermine incentives for further innovation in the existing renewable fuels sector and make the United States more dependent on dirtier petroleum sources than when the RFS was first enacted in 2005.
The comment begin by detailing the incredible advancements made by corn growers that have allowed them in the last 30 years to decrease the amount of land used to grow a bushel of corn by 30 percent, cut soil erosion per bushel by 67 percent, reduce irrigation per bushel by 53 percent, decrease the energy used to produce corn by 43 percent per bushel and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with production by 36 percent per bushel. Further detailing how agriculture serves the RFS goal of reducing GHG emissions and improving the environment, the comments site “a 2012 study from Stanford University found that advances in high-yield agriculture have prevented massive amounts of GHG from entering the atmosphere, the equivalent of 590 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide.”
The comments then offer a point-by-point comparison of the environmental impacts of ethanol and petroleum. This comparison highlights many advantages ethanol offers from an environmental perspective including corn ethanol’s renewable nature, the ability of the corn feedstock to give nutrients back to the earth, its non-toxic nature and constant ethanol industry improvements that have increased the amount of GHG reductions it offers.
The comments then proceed to answer specific questions posed by the Committee.
Pointing out that the RFS has incentivized the development of improved ethanol technologies and advanced work on other biofuels, the comments outline how the RFS has been and will continue to be an effective catalyst for the development and use of fuels that offer reduced GHG emissions. Then, the comments outline how the EPA’s methodology for calculating lifecycle GHG emissions could be improved to more accurately categorize the environmental impact of all fuels offered today and in the future.
To read the full comments as submitted, please click here.