Environmentalists, farmers, conservatives and liberals may not always find common ground, but these unlikely allies do agree on one thing: the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is broken — broken in many ways, for many people. The extent of the problem wasn’t apparent a decade ago, but now we can clearly see the unintended consequences of the RFS.
Proponents of the ethanol mandate promised Americans that their plan would save the environment; but 10 years later, America’s premier “environmental” policy is actually doing more harm to the environment than good.
In theory, the government mandate requiring that ethanol fuel be blended into America’s gasoline supply was intended to spur energy independence, reduce emissions and jumpstart rural economic development. Unfortunately, the RFS has failed to deliver on its environmental goals.
The UNs Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Environmental Working Group, the Associated Press, Congressmen from both sides and others have revealed corn ethanol produces more GHGs than gasoline, is immensely water-intensive, zaps the land of essential nutrients and demolishes animal habitats.
On Thursday, April 10, several diverse voices—including chain restaurants and environmentalists—participated in a panel with The Hill Magazine to discuss why the need to reform the government’s ethanol mandate is at critical mass.
Two Senators, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), with almost opposite political points of view are coming together asking for reform on the ethanol mandate.
As conservation lands disappear, animal habitats vanish with them. Since the ethanol mandate went into effect, in 2005, the Corn Belt states alone have lost 2.8 million acres from the conservation reserve program. Over the same period, pheasant harvests in those six states dropped by 44 percent.
Sportsmen and their congressional backers say federal ethanol policy is destroying wildlife habitat and contributing to water quality problems.
North Dakota is going to have a red hot debate over conservation as signatures are collected for a second statewide conservation fund fueled with millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars.
During the recent Subcommittee on Energy and Power’s hearing to review the RFS as well as during a recent RFS briefing sponsored by the Advanced Biofuels Association last week in D.C., the Environmental Working Group (EWG) made it very clear that they have no love for corn-based ethanol.
We can’t have a conversation about greenhouse gas emissions and the environment without first addressing the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Why? Because not only is the current generation of biofuels failing to deliver promised environmental benefits, it’s actually working against those goals.
Thanks to the RFS, prices for animal feed have soared, burdening those farmers and ranchers that raise livestock and poultry, along with the companies that process them, with rising production costs. The increased costs are reflected in the expanding grocery bills of every American.