The chair of the U.S. Senate’s Ag Committee says the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Indirect Land Use Rule, which would make biodiesel ineligible for mandates and federal subsidies, is not good science… and he believes there are enough votes in Congress to keep it from going into effect.
Agriculture Online reports that the EPA’s proposal would use the concept of increasing acreage for ethanol and biodiesel crops in the U.S. leads to deforestation and grassland destruction in other nations. Corn-based ethanol would receive a waiver, but biodiesel would not. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) said more than 100 scientists are questioning the EPA’s theory:
“I think EPA is way off the mark on this,” he said.
Harkin said he doubts that the final rule will have the same concept because he doesn’t think it’s supported by science and he wants to see scientific proof.
“Quite frankly, I can tell you, we’ll never see it,” he said, because, with so many factors influencing land use in other nations, it’s impossible to show that biofuel crops are responsible.
If the concept remains in EPA’s final rule, “I’m relatively confident we have the votes here [in the Senate] to say no and overturn that.”
Two Republican Senators have already introduced bills that would require EPA to not use indirect land use when it calculates the carbon footprint of biofuels. That requirement currently is part of the 2007 energy bill that ramps up federal mandates for biofuel use in the nation’s fuel supply.
Harkin has been joined in his criticism of the EPA by fellow Iowan Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who went to the floor of the Senate earlier this week to blast the EPA assumptions:
“The EPA’s models conclude that international land use contributes more in greenhouse gases than the entire direct emissions of ethanol production and use — from the growing the crop, the production of ethanol at the refinery, to the tailpipe emissions when it’s burned,” Grassley said. “The ripple effects are greater than the direct effects. This conclusion is ludicrous.”
Bipartisan bashing of the EPA… now that’s what I call government at its best!