Thursday, May 07, 2009

EPA's proposed RFS-2 under fire

Biodiesel manufacturers are lodging concerns against EPA's proposed rules for the Renewables Fuels Standard(RFS-2).

The RFS-2 program as enacted by Congress for the first time requires the displacement of petroleum diesel fuel with low carbon renewable fuels. The program also requires renewable fuels to meet certain greenhouse gas (ghg) emission eduction targets.

The E.P.A.’s proposed rule, released on Tuesday, finds that biodiesel made from soybeans (the predominant feedstock in this country) produces, under one scenario, 22 percent fewer emissions than petroleum. This is well short of the 50 percent reduction required by the 2007 legislation. The biodiesel manufacturers believe the estimate is wrong because of flaws in how EPA's accounted for indirect ghg emissions resulting from land use changes.

As the NYT's explains, "the idea is that growing soybeans in the United States to make biodiesel could displace cropland for growing food. Crops for food would then theoretically relocate to places like Indonesia, where clearing the land to make way for the crops might involve cutting down the carbon-digesting forests."

To some this concern my sound familiar to concerns raised about ethanol and the subject of a 1996 decision by the D.C. Court of Appeals involving Art. III standing in Florida Audubon Society v. Bentsen.

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