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Senators urge EPA to update science on ethanol

EPA has rejected calls to update GHG calculations based on technological advancements in ethanol production.

A bipartisan group of senators led by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) and Dick Durbin (D., Ill.), both members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry, urged the Environmental Protection Agency to update an outdated environmental analysis on ethanol in order to improve foreign sales opportunities.

“During the past five years, ethanol has been the fastest-growing agricultural export. As more nations adopt policies for lower-emission vehicle fuels, domestically produced ethanol can provide an immediate solution for their goals,” the senators wrote. “We assert that there is little justification for EPA to maintain such an outdated calculation that otherwise could be easily corrected with existing, available analysis — and straightforwardly address an unnecessary obstacle to international trade."

Peer-reviewed science conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture has affirmed that U.S. ethanol lowers greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 39-43% versus gasoline. EPA has rejected all calls to update these calculations, instead using nearly 10-year-old data, which ignores the technological advancements in ethanol production, the senators said.

Along with Durbin and Grassley, the letter was also signed by Sens. Joni Ernst (R., Iowa), Tina Smith (D., Minn.), John Thune (R., S.D.), Tammy Baldwin (D., Wis.), Roy Blunt (R., Mo.), Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.), Tammy Duckworth (D., Ill.), Deb Fischer (R., Neb.) and Josh Hawley (R., Mo.).

The senators urged EPA to adopt the scientific model “Greenhouse Gas & Regulated Emissions & Energy Use in Transportation” (GREET) developed by Argonne National Laboratory, a division of the U.S. Department of Energy, after studying 100 fuel production pathways and 85 vehicle systems to measure the life-cycle carbon emissions of vehicle fuels. More than 30,000 organizations worldwide use the updated GREET model, including the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Aeronautics & Space Administration, Ford, General Motors and oil companies such as BP and PetroChina. EPA does not use the updated model.

TAGS: Policy
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