The ethanol industry is unanimous in its praise for the actions announced today by the Obama administration with regard to the future development of biofuels under the Renewable Fuels Standard and the creation of a Biofuels Interagency Working Group.
During a press conference immediately following the announcement, Renewable Fuels Association president Bob Dinneen said, “The president has sent an incredibly important signal today that biofuels are going to be a key component in his strategy to address energy, economic and environmental challenges. This is a positive step forward for the industry.”
Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis says the comprehensive plan announced today will decrease dependence on foreign oil, create American jobs and cut greenhouse gas emissions. “America’s ethanol producers stand ready to help the president, and his working group, meet their ambitious goals,” said Buis.
The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Executive Vice President Brian Jennings said they are grateful to President Obama for outlining how biofuels will continue to play an integral role in our nation’s economic and energy security policy. “Importantly, the President’s directive will ensure that science – not politics – determine the future of biofuels, which will surely disappoint opponents of ethanol whose PR campaign has been designed to destroy public policy support for ethanol,” Jennings said.
All groups were also pleased that EPA committed to further study the controversial theory of indirect land use change before finalizing the greenhouse gas emissions scores for biofuels. Dinneen says “just comparing apples to apples” the direct effects of ethanol production show a better than 60 percent better improvement over petroleum. “Trying to evaluate indirect effects, particularly international indirect effects, is highly dependent on assumptions used and data available and there is a great deal of uncertainty about this,” said Dinneen.
Furthermore, Buis said that indirect land use change as currently proposed doesn’t allow an accurate comparison of fuels because it doesn’t include the indirect effects of other fuels. “To include indirect effects in regulations without even considering the indirect effects of other fuels would unfairly bias those regulations against biofuels,” said Buis.
Jennings said they encourage the Interagency Working Group to require fossil fuels undergo the same lifecycle analysis that has been imposed on biofuels, “an evaluation which will show that future sources of oil are going to have some serious consequences for the environment, while future sources of biofuel are going to be even better and more sustainable than they are already.”