Friday RFS Roundup – 9/12

September 12, 2014

This week, the media focused some of its attention on a new cellulosic biofuels plant that came online in Iowa. While we may have taken one step closer to new kinds of biofuels, we have heard this story before, and there is still a great deal of concern about the impacts of the so-called “clean” fuel.

More from this week:

  • Huffington Post Green: Cellulosic Ethanol: Firsts, Failures, Myths and Risks:

    In Short: “Corn ethanol was initially lauded as a path to reduce emissions from transportation, but has since proven to be a path to hunger, biodiversity loss, increased greenhouse gas emissions, water eutrophication and more.

    Do we need to keep repeating history in pursuit of the myth that we can substitute living plant biomass for fossil? Is it not already clear that we desperately need to protect soils, waterways, forests and ecosystems? Is it not obvious that with a rapidly expanding population to feed, escalating climate impacts and dwindling resources, biofuels are a flagrant and dangerous waste?”

  • National Geographic: “Fantasy” of Fuel From Corn Waste Gets Big U.S. Test:

    In Short: “Some have worries about the impact that a growing cellulosic ethanol industry could have on agricultural land. Craig Cox, senior vice president for agricultural and natural resources for the Environmental Working Group in Ames, Iowa, expressed concern that if cellulosic ethanol takes off, corn stover might be harvested in a way that's unsustainable.

    Cox said that the same claims now being made about cellulosic ethanol—good for the environment, good for farmers, good for American energy security—were also made about corn-kernel ethanol, and he said they were wrong. ‘I don't see how we've really changed the policy landscape. And it looks like we're not going to change the physical landscape in ways that would make a huge contribution to larger environmental issues surrounding agriculture,’ he said.”

  • Montgomery Advertiser: Ethanol mandate no longer sound policy:

    In Short: “When Congress passed the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2005, many saw it as an environmentally friendly answer to growing dependence on foreign oil. The idea was to replace some gasoline with mandated amounts of corn-derived ethanol in our vehicles. It did not work out that way, from both environmental and cost standpoints.”