Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa has introduced the companion legislation to a measure introduced by House Agriculture Chair Collin Peterson, D-Minn., last week. The bill would ensure the biofuels industry isn't penalized for the Environmental Protection Agency's use of non-scientific data when determining greenhouse gas emissions. Grassley says he'll bring the issue up every chance he gets calling it obvious the EPA's rationale doesn't meet the common sense test. He says it's ridiculous to think Brazilian farmers are looking to see what Iowa farmers are doing to determine how they run their business.
The legislation improves several provisions with the expanded Renewable Fuels Standard that were enacted in the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act. Among other things Grassley's bill ensures greenhouse gas calculations are based on proven science by removing the requirement to include indirect land use changes and exempts biodiesel plants in operation or under construction prior to the date of enactment of the 2007 measure from lifecycle greenhouse gas reduction requirements.
Agriculture and energy groups have voiced their support of the Renewable Fuel Standard Improvement Act. The American Farm Bureau Federation, National Farmers Union and Growth Energy sent a letter to Peterson and House Ag Committee Ranking Member Frank Lucas, R-Okla. commending them for pushing this bill forward.
The groups wrote, "It is our strong belief that the theory of using indirect land use calculations for determining the life cycle emissions of a liquid fuel is unrealistic and problematic. There are too many unanswered questions about how it is defined and implemented." According to the groups, using indirect land use calculations would also put U.S. agriculture in jeopardy by making farmers responsible for actions in other countries, which are beyond their control.