Report: Ethanol Production Eating Up CA Grasslands Near Refineries

by Suzanne Potter/Scott Herron, Public News Service

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A new report shows the Renewable Fuel Standard has had some unintended consequences – leading to the loss of 7 million acres of grassland nationally within the past few years – mostly in and around ethanol refineries as demand grew for corn.

The study showed that in California alone, almost 50,000 acres of non-crop lands have been converted within a hundred miles of the state’s nine ethanol plants.

One of the study authors, Ben Larson with the National Wildlife Federation, says the lion’s share of the acreage was precious grasslands, which serve as habitat for many species, especially birds.

“The issue of habitat loss driven by biofuels policy needs to be at the center of the debate about reforming the Renewable Fuel Standard,” he states.

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