Recent Press Releases

Thune Denounces EPA International Indirect Land Use Ruling

-Changes Would Hurt South Dakota Biofuels Industry-

May 5, 2009

Washington, D.C. —  U.S. Senator John Thune released the following statement after today's announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that it will institute new models to measure ethanol's lifecycle carbon emissions, including measurements of carbon resulting from "indirect land use" in other countries:

"While I am pleased the EPA issued a range of emissions for biofuels, the EPA's new standards for measuring ethanol's lifecycle carbon output in other countries could be a serious setback for our nation's push for energy independence. The EPA is relying on unproven models that undermine our nation's most readily available alternative to foreign oil. Ethanol creates American jobs and reduces our dependence on imported energy while reducing carbon emissions relative to gasoline."

The EPA issued the new rules for the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), which was enacted as part of the 2007 Energy Bill. The RFS requires new corn ethanol plants and new cellulosic ethanol plants to produce a fuel that emits fewer lifecycle greenhouse gasses relative to regular gasoline. However, Congress included a requirement to quantify emissions from indirect land use changes. Since enactment of the legislation, there is growing concern that EPA could unfairly interpret this provision and discredit American made ethanol with indirect land use changes that may or may not occur in other countries around the world.

Senator Thune introduced a bill last week which directs the EPA to focus on direct lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions, which would level the playing field between ethanol and regular gasoline and bring more regulatory certainty to the ethanol industry. Additionally, the bill would require EPA to publish the model for measuring lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions before taking any regulatory action. The bill would also allow individual ethanol producers with a unique production method to apply to the EPA for a lower carbon score which would provide an incentive for ethanol companies to develop innovative ways to produce ethanol.

"My bill would help to ensure that the EPA follows Congress's intent in crafting the RFS to promote those biofuels that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Ethanol is one step to a greener, renewable based energy strategy, and the EPA's activism does a disservice to consumers and to the environment by undermining it."

The bill would also establish a waiver process for the greenhouse gas reduction requirements in the new RFS. This provision would allow ethanol producers to petition the EPA to waive the greenhouse gas reduction requirements of the RFS if the requirements are preventing the industry from meeting the RFS requirements, contributing to our dependence on foreign oil, or creating an undue economic burden on the ethanol industry.