Legislation seeks to exclude indirect land use change from RFS2

By Erin Voegele | April 14, 2009
Web exclusive posted May 1, 2009, at 12:45 p.m. CST

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) recently introduced legislation that aims to prevent the U.S. EPA from including inaccurate indirect land use models in the proposed rulemaking for the second stage of the renewable fuel standard as enacted by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, now commonly referred to as RFS2.

"Following California's recent decision to use flawed models to estimate ethanol's environmental impact, I am concerned that the EPA could soon apply similar standards that will handicap renewable fuel relative to regular gasoline," Thune said. "Congress has asked EPA to apply greenhouse gas emission standards that reflect ethanol's proven environmental benefits. However, with the EPA's current decision that is pending at the White House, I am concerned that EPA's action could have a detrimental impact on our renewable fuel industry and efforts to reduce our dependence on foreign oil."

Thune's legislation, known as S.943, would:

  • Direct the EPA to focus on direct lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the proposed rulemaking for the RFS2

  • Require the EPA to publicize its model for measuring lifecycle GHG emissions before taking any regulatory action

  • Allow individual producers with unique production methods to apply to the EPA for a lower carbon score that more accurately reflects their production process

  • Establish a waiver process that would allow ethanol producers to petition the EPA to waive the RFS's GHG reduction requirements if those requirements prevent producers from meeting the RFS, contribute to U.S. dependence on foreign oil, or create an undue economic burden on the ethanol industry

  • "The activist nature of the current EPA may undercut the environmental benefits of ethanol," Thune said. "I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to make sure those efforts are unsuccessful and we do everything we can to grow and expand the ethanol industry."

    S.943 was introduced by Thune on April 30 and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.