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EPA Releases Updated Standards For Biofuel In Gasoline

Daniel Bauer

The Environmental Protection Agency is reducing the amount of biofuel required in gasoline by 1 billion gallons — that exceeds the total amount of ethanol produced in Indiana last year.

Steve Pittman, president of the Indiana Ethanol Producers Association, says in a statement that it’s a “big step backwards for energy innovation and renewable fuels” and that the EPA is giving into the demands of big oil companies.

But Emily Cassidy, research analyst for the Environmental Working Group, says many scientists who previously thought corn ethanol was good for the environment have since published reports showing corn ethanol is actually worse for the environment than gasoline. Corn requires more water and fertilizer than most other crops.

And she points out that since the ethanol mandate began in 2005, farmers have converted millions of acres of grasslands to plant corn.

“That’s bad for the environment and for the climate because if you convert grasslands, plow it up, you emit a lot of the carbon that’s locked up in the soil and the plants into the atmosphere,” Cassidy says.

Cassidy says the EPA’s new standards show there is only so much demand for ethanol in the fuel supply. She says moving forward, there should be a focus on second-generation biofuels made from agricultural residue or waste.

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