Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, told reporters last week that he doubts the final rule from the Environmental Protection Agency on a new renewable fuel standard will have the same use of indirect land use that has made the EPA proposal controversial in the biofuels industry. Based on computer models used to estimate greenhouse gasses, Harkin says biodiesel would be ineligible for mandates and subsidies under the 2007 energy bill, and it threatens expansion of corn-based ethanol.
"Quite frankly I can tell you we'll never see it," Harkin said. "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 to say no and overturn that."
Senator John Thune, R-S.D., was first to introduce a bill to remove that requirement from the energy law. Earlier Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, introduced a bill that is similar to one introduced in the House by Representative Collin Peterson, D-Minn. Those bills would also eliminate the indirect land use calculation.