WASHINGTON, DC — Noting that ethanol producers already help the nation’s environment by reducing tailpipe emissions and recycling carbon that is largely produced by fossil fuels, Growth Energy urged the Environmental Protection Agency to suspend a proposal to add an additional layer of regulation on ethanol plants until they could cooperatively design an oversight program specific to ethanol producers.
“Currently, the U.S. fuel ethanol industry makes a significant contribution to the nation’s environmental well-being by providing benefits for pollution reduction in the vehicle fleet and its resulting emissions. Today’s modern ethanol production facilities operate effectively within a system of environmental regulation and oversight from both federal and state government,” wrote Growth Energy in a letter to EPA submitted Dec. 23 as public comment on the proposed rule.
The Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule, as proposed by EPA, would establish new thresholds for GHGs that define when new or existing industrial facilities – including ethanol plants – would be required to obtain or modify construction and operational air permits. As written, the proposal would essentially require every ethanol plant in the country to obtain a Title V permit. But, as Growth Energy pointed out in its comments, operating under that permit on an annual basis would be an extraordinary cost for independently-operated ethanol plants.
“Many facilities rely upon a qualified consultant to prepare such extensive and complex applications. Total fees for consulting, application and annual emission inventory can quickly reach over $150,000. It is one more additional financial burden these facilities may not be able to cover, especially during the current economic climate,” Growth Energy wrote.
Growth Energy asked to work with EPA to develop a program specifically designed for oversight of the ethanol industry, pointing out that ethanol plants recycle the carbon that is produced, and overall produce far fewer emissions than other typical industrial facilities, such as utility plants.
“The industry continues to implement environmentally-friendly technologies to lessen carbon impacts while enhancing air and water quality. The modern grain ethanol industry is part of an ecosystem in which the crops that are processed into food, feed and fuel actually absorb inordinately large amounts of C02 from the atmosphere (most often generated by the conversion or use of fossil fuels) and hence serve as a means of cycling C02 rather than generating new additions to the overall loading of GHG’s in the environment,” Growth Energy wrote.
Further, Growth Energy asked that ethanol plants only become applicable for Title V and Prevention of Significant Deterioration programs for GHG emissions if those plants are already subject to those programs for non-GHG pollutants.
Read the full letter here.
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About Growth Energy
Growth Energy is a group committed to the promise of agriculture and growing America’s economy through cleaner, greener energy. Growth Energy members recognize America needs a new ethanol approach. Through smart policy reform and a proactive grassroots campaign, Growth energy promotes reducing greenhouse gas emissions, expanding the use of ethanol in gasoline, decreasing our dependence on foreign oil, and creating American jobs at home. More information can be found at GrowthEnergy.org.