The Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published an announcement that they would begin preliminary research into the lifecycle impacts of EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The work will be conducted within the Office of Air and Radiation and the Office of Research and Development. The OIG’s objectives of the study are to determine whether the EPA:
- complied with the reporting requirements of laws authorizing the RFS; and
- updated the lifecycle analysis supporting the RFS with findings from the mandated National Academy of Sciences 2011 study on Biofuels, the EPA’s 2011 Report to Congress on the Environmental Impacts of Biofuels as well as any more recent and relevant research on lifecycle impacts of biofuels.
In response to the announcement, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) CEO Bob Dinneen said, “For years RFA has been asking the EPA to update their analysis of the RFS’s impacts on greenhouse gas emissions so we welcome this review, as it will give the public a clearer picture of the climate benefits that ethanol is producing today. ”
“Lifecycle analyses conducted by the Department of Energy and others since the final RFS rule was implemented have shown that grain ethanol produced today reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent compared to fossil fuels — even when hypothetical land use emissions are taken into account. And, added Dinneen, the EPA has recently approved nearly 50 petitions from grain ethanol producers for its efficient producer program, with each petition requiring careful lifecycle analysis based on actual production data. These results show that the RFS is doing what it was intended to do, and is a potent weapon in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
No date has been set for the release of the report.