The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) has sent a letter to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee leadership refuting statements that were made in a Nov. 30th letter sent to the committee by ethanol critics.
According to RFA, the letter sent by ethanol critics misrepresented the findings of two recent papers on American biofuels and American biofuel policy — one from the National Academies of Science (NAS) and one from United Nations Committee on Food Security (CFS). Authors of the letter, including corporate livestock, food manufacturing, fossil fuel production, and other industries, are seeking a hearing on domestic biofuels and the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).
In a follow-up letter sent this week, RFA provides additional research confirming the benefits of domestic biofuel production. Specifically, RFA took exception to assertions made that the NAS study offered definitive conclusions about the environmental impacts of ethanol or the efficacy of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).
RFA also highlighted a finding of the NAS report that was omitted in the letter that, “using biofuels holds potential to provide net environmental benefits compared to using petroleum-based fuels…”.
RFA notes that even some participants in the NAS research work have questioned its incompleteness and lack of definitive conclusions. It has been reported by the American Association of Advancement of Science that Dr. Virginia Dale, an ecologist at the DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory believes the NAS report, “is not based on the most current information” and could be “misleading if the assumptions of the analysis are not considered.” Dr. Dale encouraged readers to “read the details with care,” a point which RFA notes was left out of the letter to the committee.
Regarding the UN CFS study, the RFA noted that no mention of the RFS or specific biofuel policies were included in the study.
RFA believes the letter and claims sent by the ethanol critics does not warrant a hearing by the Senate EPW Committee. However, if a hearing is granted, RFA encourages the committee to hear from witnesses from the biofuels industry and academia who can testify to the benefits of the biofuels industry.