EPA Backs Off Land Use Change

Harkin withdraws amendment.

Published on: Sep 25, 2009

In a letter to former Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson addressed the uncertainty in calculating the indirect effects on land use change from greater biofuels production. The Administrator committed to carefully quantify and consider these uncertainties surrounding lifecycle greenhouse gases for biofuels in the agency's formulation of regulations for the renewable fuel standard.

 

Earlier Harkin and six other Senators proposed an amendment to the Senate Interior-Environment Appropriations bill that would prohibit the Environment Protection Agency for one year from spending funds to include international indirect land use change emissions in the implementation of the Renewable Fuels Standards. Harkin has pulled that amendment after receiving the letter from Administrator Jackson.

 

Harkin spokesperson Grant Gustafson says Harkin considers setting those fuel requirements in a timely manner as critically important to our national strategy for reducing our dangerous dependence on imported oil. Senator Ben Nelson's amendment to set the blend wall at 15% is yet to be considered.

 

Also, Senate Democrats have blocked a vote on Senator Lisa Murkowski's amendment to the bill that would have banned for one year EPA taking any action to regulate carbon emissions from stationary sources.

 

Growth Energy is pleased with EPA administrator Lisa Jackson admission that there is uncertainty about Indirect Land Use. The current proposal to measure emissions from international Indirect Land Use Change was never debated in Congress, it is not accepted science, and ultimately requires long-term study before becoming the standard by which an entire industry is regulated.

 

As for Senator Harkin pulling his bill that would prohibit for one year EPA from spending funds to include international indirect land use change emissions in the implementation of the RFS,

 

"The Environmental Protection Agency threatened to derail implementation of the Renewable Fuels Standard if the Harkin amendment passed," said Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis. "We do not agree with their legal analysis, and we'll continue to advocate the right policy – a policy rooted in logic and fact."