FRESNO, Calif. – In a petition filed today with the California Air Resources Board (CARB), Growth Energy asked that the agency either delay its scheme to penalize Midwest farmers who produce renewable, low-carbon ethanol, or update the outdated formula with new information that would cut the controversial penalty in half.
At issue is a new study from Purdue University which shows that CARB significantly overstated the theoretical impact of “indirect land use change” penalties in its state-wide Low Carbon Fuel Statement (LCFS) by as much as two-fold. Growth Energy, the coalition of U.S. ethanol supporters, argues in its petition that CARB is bound by state law to use the “best available” science, and says that the newest Purdue formula should be included in place of what is now a clearly-mistaken formula that heavily penalizes Midwestern grain ethanol.
“Just as when it regulates anyone else, California is duty bound to use the best available science when it regulates the American farmer and American ethanol. Beyond that, when the California legislature passed the law to create the low-carbon fuel standard, it mandated that CARB use the best available science. All we’re asking is that CARB follow the law and use the best available science,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy.
“We do not accept ILUC as fact. It is an unsettled theory, and at best is a controversial concept that has only served to divide those who should be working together for cleaner air, U.S. jobs and stronger national security. Our petition today asks CARB to delay all implementation of penalties against grain ethanol based on ILUC. But if CARB insists on going forward with the ILUC scheme, then we ask that it incorporate the newest formulas from Purdue, which would more than halve the carbon assessment against America’s farmers,” Buis said.
State law requires CARB to respond to Growth Energy’s petition within 30 days. The agency can either agree to consider the requested change in LCFS at a public hearing, or by denying the petition, explain in writing why the petition is being denied.
Purdue University faculty include the foremost experts in the same computer models upon which CARB relied last year to overestimate what it describes as the “indirect” emissions impact of corn and ethanol use. The newest study, by agriculture economic professor Wallace E. Tyner, used updated economic modeling and proved CARB overestimated the ILUC penalties.
If the controversial ILUC penalty is not assessed at all – as Growth Energy maintains – then U.S. grain ethanol is 59 percent cleaner than conventional gasoline, and cellulosic ethanol is 86 percent cleaner.
ILUC is the concept that American farmers who sell their grain to ethanol producers are responsible for the carbon emissions of farmers in other countries.
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.