EPA seeks to mandate more use of ethanol and other biofuels

Dec 1, 2022, 2:16 PM | Updated: 2:42 pm
FILE - Project developers plan to build carbon capture pipelines connecting dozens of Midwestern et...

FILE - Project developers plan to build carbon capture pipelines connecting dozens of Midwestern ethanol refineries, such as this one in Chancellor, S.D., shown on July 22, 2021. The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, proposed increasing the amount of ethanol and other biofuels that must be blended into the nation's fuel supplies over the next three years, a move welcomed by renewable fuel and farm groups but condemned by environmentalists and oil industry groups. (AP Photo/Stephen Groves, File)

(AP Photo/Stephen Groves, File)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday proposed increasing the amount of ethanol and other biofuels that must be blended into the nation’s fuel supplies over the next three years, a move welcomed by renewable fuel and farm groups but condemned by environmentalists and oil industry groups.

“This proposal supports low-carbon renewable fuels and seeks public input on ways to strengthen the program,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in a statement. “With this proposal, EPA seeks to provide consumers with more options while diversifying our nation’s energy mix.”

The proposal also includes new incentives to encourage the use of biogas from farms and landfills, and renewable biomass such as wood, to generate electricity to charge electric vehicles. It’s the first time the EPA has set biofuel targets on its own instead of using numbers from Congress. The agency opened a public comment period and will hold a hearing in January.

The goal of the existing Renewable Fuel Standard is to reduce carbon emissions that contribute to climate change, expand the country’s fuel supply, strengthen energy security and reduce fuel prices for consumers. Ethanol is a key part of the economy in many Midwest states, consuming about 40% of the nation’s corn supply.

But environmentalists argue that it’s a net ecological and climate detriment because growing all that corn fosters unsustainable farming practices, while the oil industry says ethanol mandates constrain free market forces and limit consumer choice, and that higher blends can damage older vehicles.

Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, told reporters on a conference call that the EPA’s plan creates a “clear pathway for sustainable growth for our industry when it comes to the production and use of low-carbon fuels like ethanol.” He said it also bolsters the industry’s push for year-round sales of gasoline with a 15% ethanol blend, as well as sales of the 85% ethanol blend E85.

“As the administration is working to address climate change, we’ve long known that biofuels will play an important role in reducing greenhouse gases while having the added benefit of providing expanded opportunities for farmers,” National Farmers Union President Rob Larew said in a statement.

But environmental groups said the plan offers false solutions to climate change.

“This is a toxic plan directly at odds with the Biden Administration’s commitment to Environmental Justice,” Sarah Lutz, climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said in a statement. “Charging electric vehicles with forests and factory farms should be a non-starter.”

Geoff Moody, senior vice president of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers said the Renewable Fuel Standard was meant to be a liquid fuels program, not an electric vehicle program. He urged the EPA to go back as it develops the final rule and reject “yet another massive regulatory subsidy for electric vehicle manufacturers.”

The EPA proposes to set the total target for all kinds of renewable fuels at 20.82 billion gallons for 2023, including 15 billion gallons from corn ethanol. The target would grow to 22.68 billion gallons for 2025, including 15.25 billion gallons of corn ethanol. The plan also calls for growth in cellulosic biofuels — which are made from fibrous plant materials — biomass-based diesel and other advanced biofuels.

Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, of Iowa, the country’s top corn and ethanol producing state, said in a statement that the EPA should have gone further to require even more use of advanced biofuels to move freight, which he said would help lower prices for consumer goods.

Cooper said there’s probably no way to meet the proposed higher targets without more use of E15 and E85 instead of the conventional 10% ethanol mix. That makes it important to eliminate regulations that block summertime sales of E15, he said.

So, he predicted, the EPA’s proposal should bolster prospects for legislation introduced this week by Democratic U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, of Minnesota, and GOP Sen. Deb Fischer, of Nebraska, to allow year-round sales of E15 nationwide. E15 sales are usually prohibited between June 1 and Sept. 15 because of concerns that it adds to smog in high temperatures.

Eight Midwest governors asked the EPA in April to allow year-round sales of E15 in their states. But Cooper said the new bill would provide a “nationwide fix” that even the American Petroleum Institute considers preferable to the current patchwork of temporary waivers and ad hoc solutions.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Sri Lankan president Ranil Wickremesinghe, left, arrives at the parliament to deliver his policy sp...
Associated Press

Sri Lankan leader appeals for patience amid economic crisis

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s president on Wednesday appealed for patience amid the country’s worst economic crisis but promised brighter times ahead. President Ranil Wickremesinghe said in a policy speech after inaugurating a new parliamentary session that he had been forced to make unpopular decisions to salvage the country’s finances, including by implementing […]
2 hours ago
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addresses a media conference after the EU-Ukraine summit in...
Associated Press

Zelenskyy to visit UK for first time since Russia’s invasion

LONDON (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will visit Britain on Wednesday, his first trip to the U.K. since Russia’s invasion began nearly a year ago and only his second confirmed journey outside Ukraine during the war. The British government says Zelenskyy will hold talks with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, address Parliament and meet with […]
2 hours ago
Currency traders pass by the screens showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI), left, a...
Associated Press

Asian shares mixed after Wall St gains on Fed chair comments

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares were mixed in Asia on Wednesday after stocks rallied on Wall Street following comments by the chair of the Federal Reserve signaling that last week’s stunningly strong jobs report won’t by itself sway its stance on interest rates hikes. Hong Kong, Sydney and Seoul rose while Tokyo and Shanghai declined. U.S. […]
2 hours ago
Characters from The Simpsons pose before the premiere of "The Simpsons Movie", Springfield, Vermont...
Associated Press

Disney cuts Simpsons ‘forced labor’ episode in Hong Kong

HONG KONG (AP) — Walt Disney Co. has removed an episode from cartoon series The Simpsons that included a reference to “forced labor camps” in China from its streaming service in Hong Kong. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment about why the episode, “One Angry Lisa” from The Simpsons’ 34th […]
2 hours ago
FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2020, file photo, the Olympic rings are reinstalled after it was taken down ...
Associated Press

Tokyo Olympic official, 3 others held in bid-rigging probe

TOKYO (AP) — A senior official with the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee and three company executives were arrested Wednesday in an ongoing bid-rigging scandal related to the Games. Yasuo Mori, the Olympic official, was arrested along with Koji Henmi, who headed the sports division at Japanese advertising giant Dentsu. Two other business executives were also […]
2 hours ago
FILE - Power grid stand against the residential and office buildings in Beijing as the capital of C...
Associated Press

IEA: Asia set to use half of world’s electricity by 2025

BERLIN (AP) — Asia will for the first time use half of the world’s electricity by 2025, even as Africa continues to consume far less than its share of the global population, according to a new forecast released Wednesday by the International Energy Agency. Much of Asia’s electricity use will be in China, a nation […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
...
Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
EPA seeks to mandate more use of ethanol and other biofuels