It didn’t work.
Let’s put the Ethanol Mandate behind us.
It didn’t work.
Let’s put the Ethanol Mandate behind us.
There is a mandate in place that requires your gasoline to contain 10% ethanol. The intent was to reduce carbon emissions, but in reality, ethanol production is more harmful to our environment and economy than lawmakers realized.
Rethink Ethanol is a new initiative to address our nation’s failed mandated and subsidized corn-based ethanol policies. We will be engaging voters, thought leaders, industry experts, and policymakers in a frank conversation on the effects of corn-based ethanol.
Estimated increase in cost of corn between 2006 and 2011 attributed to the RFS mandate. The RFS creates a guaranteed demand for ethanol that does not reflect market realities.
Source: Our Energy Policy – The Effect of the US Ethanol Mandate on Corn Prices
The number of years it took us to remedy our lands from edge tillage. Edge tillage is planting right up to the edge of the field thereby removing protective bordering lands and increasing soil erosion, chemical runoff and other problems. It took us 40 years to end edge tillage in this country, and overnight ethanol brought it back with a vengeance.
Source: Forbes Magazine: “It’s Final — Corn Ethanol Is Of No Use”
Recent land conversions to grow more corn and soybeans released 131 million tons of carbon into the air between 2008 and 2012, as much as 34 coal-fired power plants.
Source: April 2015 study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin.
A letter from Congressman Henry A. Waxman:
For 40 years, I championed environmental protections and solutions to climate change in Congress. I’m proud of my work to strengthen the Clean Air Act, make drinking water safer, reduce pesticides in food, and cut oil consumption through strong fuel efficiency standards.
Unfortunately, one piece of legislation that I supported in 2007, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), has not stood the test of time. The RFS had admirable environmental goals. It was aimed at driving a transition to more environmentally friendly transportation fuel, and reducing climate pollution. Although it included huge mandates for consumption of food-based fuels that were worrisome at the time, these fuels were sold as a bridge to the production of non-food-based, ultra-low carbon fuels, such as cellulosic ethanol and other truly advanced fuels.
However, while I was still in Congress, an array of peer-reviewed scienti c research suggested that food-based biofuels’ climate and environmental impact was as bad or often much worse than the oil it was meant to replace. In addition, the production of truly advanced, cellulosic fuels failed to materialize. As Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, we worked in a bipartisan fashion to evaluate the impact of the program through a series of white papers.
This report by Mighty Earth and Action Aid USA provides a dramatic on-the-ground glimpse of the unintended negative consequences of food-based biofuels. It shows that instead of driving large-scale climate solutions, the RFS has largely served as a mandate for corn ethanol and food-based biodiesel production, including soy and palm biodiesel produced overseas.
This biofuels production is driving the destruction of wildlife habitat around the world, from jaguars in South America to orangutans in Asia, and monarch butter ies in the United States. In part due to expanded biofuel production, last year saw the largest-ever dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. These biofuels have no carbon emissions bene ts, and are likely worsening our climate crisis.
As this report shows, food-based biofuels’ impacts are not only a problem for the environment. Biofuel production drives increased use of pesticides and fertilizers, endangers drinking water supplies and drives indigenous and local communities from their land.
It’s time to admit that the RFS has fallen far short of its goals. We don’t need food-based biofuels to reduce the use of oil. Increases in fuel efficiency and exciting growth in vehicle electri cation are what is actually reducing transportation’s climate impact.
I am grateful to all the organizations and people that are contributing to better understanding of biofuels’ impact, including ActionAid USA, Transport & Environment, the Norwegian Climate and Forest Initiative, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, National Wildlife Federation, Jerry Jung, and the Clean Air Task Force.
Thank for your attention.
Henry A. Waxman
Jerry Jung’s passion for reforming the nation’s ethanol laws started when he noticed that the monarch butterflies had vanished from his hobby farm north of Clare, Michigan. After doing a bit of research… read more
The political tide may be turning against the corn ethanol mandate. The Renewable Fuel Standard, which forces oil refiners to mix corn-based fuel into gasoline, is one of history’s great policy boondoggles. read more
Bill invests more than $11 billion to reverse impacts of mandate, puts forth solutions to protect drinking water, restore wildlife habitat, and confront climate change… read more
At first glance, the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery might look like a target for environmental groups. It’s been hit with $2.1 million in penalties from U.S. EPA for Clean Air Act violations… read more
The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Thursday that the recent bankruptcy of a Pennsylvania oil refiner was evidence the nation’s biofuel policy needs an overhaul in comments… read more
For the first time in years, there is an emerging consensus that the biggest racket in national politics deserves to end. Earlier this month, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and 10 other Republican senators held… read more
This is a story of unintended consequences. Ten years ago President George W. Bush signed into law the Renewable Fuel Standard, a federal program created to advance a number of national priorities… read more
Ten years ago today, President George W. Bush signed into law the ethanol mandate called the Renewable Fuel Standard. Intended to reduce reliance on foreign oil and the emission… read more
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt took a trip to Iowa last week to meet with ethanol producers. But the day before he headed to the Hawkeye State… read more
The EPA can improve the quality of our air, water, and land by accepting the reality that the national policy to promote corn-based ethanol is a failure. This policy, initially well intended, is devastating to our environment and to our wildlife. It’s distorting food quality and prices. And, our government is wasting taxpayers’ money to further the damage caused by corn-based ethanol. It is time to stop and rethink ethanol.
In 2007, Congress passed the Renewable Fuel Standard with good intentions: reducing dependence on fossil fuels, accelerating development of sustainable biofuels, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Unfortunately, nine years later, there have been severe unintended consequences—large-scale loss of wildlife habitat (especially native grasslands) and degradation of water quality—and wildlife has borne the brunt of these impacts.
Ethanol production is damaging to land, water, air and wildlife.