Obama faces climate change test with ethanol
Environmentalists, citing various studies and scientific papers, say the agency must factor in more than just the direct, heat-trapping pollution from ethanol and its production. They also point to "indirect" impacts on global warming from worldwide changes in land use, including climate-threatening deforestation, as land is cleared to plant corn or other ethanol crops.
Ethanol manufacturers and agriculture interests contend the fallout from potential land use changes in the future, especially those outside the United States, have not been adequately proven or even quantified, and should not count when the EPA calculates ethanol's climate impact.
"It defies common sense that EPA would publish a proposed rule-making with harmful conclusions for biofuels based on incomplete science and inaccurate assumptions," complained Republican Sen. Charles Grassley, who represents Iowa where corn is a major crop.
He was one of 12 farm-state senators, both Democrats and Republicans, who wrote EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in March, urging the agency to stick to assessing only the direct emissions.
Ethanol, which in the future may come from cellulosic sources such as switchgrass and wood chips, is promoted by its advocates as a "green" substitute for gasoline that will help the U.S. reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, especially foreign oil. That transition is a priority of the Obama White House.
In 2007, Congress ordered huge increases in ethanol use, requiring refiners to blend 20 billion gallons with gasoline by 2015 and a further expansion to 36 billion gallons a year by 2022.
His new friend Fidel Castro will be highly pissed if the US continues to use corn for fuel rather than food.
Fidel Castro On The Use Of Food As Fuel