The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has launched an inquiry into the environmental benefits of the country’s ethanol fuels mandate.
“The investigation, to be conducted by the Inspector General for EPA, will examine whether the agency has complied with reporting requirements and is using recent research on the full environmental impacts of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS),” Reuters reports.
“Both oil industry and environmental groups have questioned whether the EPA properly evaluated the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of corn ethanol to calculate its global warming potential. They say land use change associated with its production outweighs the environmental benefits of replacing gasoline.”
The Renewable Fuels Association’s Geoff Cooper said a review of the RFS will demonstrate the environmental benefits of corn ethanol. Critics counter that the program never met its original goal of stimulating other forms of biofuel production. “Corn ethanol was supposed to be the bridge. But it’s not happening,” said Emily Cassidy of the Environmental Working Group.”
In a separate report, Bloomberg notes that the fossil industry’s Smarter Fuel Future Coalition is citing climate hawk Al Gore to bolster its opposition to biofuel mandates. “First-generation ethanol was a mistake,” Gore says in quote contained in a coalition video.
With the EPA facing a late November deadline to set its biofuel mandates through 2016, Brooke Coleman of the Advanced Biofuels Business Council said the fossil fuel push “is a response to a growing chorus reminding President Obama that his position on the Renewable Fuel Standard is inconsistent with his positioning going into the Paris climate talks. It’s a recognition of what the president cares about most. And the argument is patently absurd.”