U.S. Senator John Thune has introduced a bill designed to strengthen the Renewable Fuels Standard and prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from using inaccurate indirect land use models to discredit the positive environmental impacts of ethanol.
“Following California’s recent decision to use flawed models to estimate ethanol’s environmental impact, I am concerned that the EPA could soon apply similar standards that will handicap renewable fuel relative to regular gasoline,” said Thune. “Congress has asked EPA to apply greenhouse gas emission standards that reflect ethanol’s proven environmental benefits. However, with the EPA’s current decision that is pending at the White House, I am concerned that EPA’s action could have a detrimental impact on our renewable fuel industry and efforts to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”
Thune’s bill directs the EPA to focus on direct lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions, which would level the playing field between ethanol and regular gasoline and bring more regulatory certainty to the ethanol industry. Additionally, the bill would require EPA to publicize the model for measuring lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions before taking any regulatory action. The bill would also allow individual ethanol producers with a unique production method to apply to the EPA for a lower carbon score which would provide an incentive for ethanol companies to develop innovative ways to produce ethanol.