NO SILVER LINING IN EPA STORM CLOUD

Feb, 04, 2010  |  ICGA |  Legislation & Regulation

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.—Illinois corn farmers battled through all the storms Mother Nature sent their way in 2009 producing a record US crop, but the supercell created by EPA with its RFS2 rules is an entirely different kind of storm.

“At first glance, the RFS2 rules read like good news on a sunny day for corn farmers,” explained Tim Lenz, a Strasburg, IL, farmer who serves as the Illinois Corn Growers Association President. “A close look at the radar screen shows the sky clouding up, with a storm hanging low over our heads.”

Chief among the storm clouds is the fact that when developing its final rules for the Renewable Fuels Standard II (RFS2), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) included the highly controversial International Land Use Change impact to penalize corn-based ethanol.

“It looks to me like EPA did a whole lot of crystal ball gazing to conjure up this RFS 2 rule when what they really should have done was step out of the séance and into the real world,” Lenz said. “All these computer models and predictions based on something that might happen someday in a foreign country have no place being used to determine this country’s energy future.”

Lenz added, “Administrator Jackson said her agency used ‘groundbreaking’ science to address what she called ‘reasonable worry’ about the lifecycle impact of renewable fuels. The only thing groundbreaking about this science is that it’s being dreamed up by lawyers and activists.”

EPA published the RFS2 rules as required by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act. Corn kernel based ethanol was credited with a 21% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). However, EPA credited ethanol made from corn stover (cobs and stalks) with a 130% reduction in GHG.

“The corn kernel, the corn cob, the corn stover, they all come from the same plant. It’s all corn. To those of us here in the heartland, where common sense rules, that means it has the same lifecycle,” Lenz asserted. “How can it be that our corn kernels grown here in the Midwest have a bigger impact on the Brazilian Amazon rainforest than new sugarcane acres that are actually being cultivated in Brazil?”

“The RFS2 rule is definitely a book that should be read by its cover. The moral is that common sense, logic and science apparently have no place in this EPA,” Lenz concluded. “At a time when the Administration and Congress are looking to create jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide our country with increased energy security, EPA’s rule smacks of the kind of environmental elitist agenda that insults hard-working men and women who are waiting for their chance at a green job.”