Biofuels Bill Fails to Protect the Environment

Biofuels Bill Fails to Protect the Environment

David Waskow, 202-492-4660
Erich Pica, 202-222-0739

Bingaman, Domenici Biofuels Bill Fails to Protect the Environment Statement of Brent Blackwelder, President of Friends of the Earth

Washington, DC – Friends of the Earth expressed disappointment with renewable fuel standard (RFS) legislation put forward today by Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Pete Domenici (R-NM). The RFS proposal mandates a large increase in the use biofuels, including corn ethanol, but fails to impose any environmental guidelines or assure that the biofuels will actually reduce global warming pollution. Below is a statement from Brent Blackwelder, President of Friends of the Earth:

“If done right, a biofuels mandate could combat global warming pollution and protect the environment. If done wrong, it could have the opposite impacts. Unfortunately, the Bingaman-Domenici biofuels mandate does it the wrong way. Congress should step back and ensure that any increase in biofuels production is paired with strong environmental safeguards, and should oppose proposals such as today’s that fail to do so.”

“Global warming is the greatest environmental challenge of our time. We need to reduce the pollution that fuels global warming, but we’re going head over heels for corn ethanol despite evidence that we can’t produce much more of it without damaging the environment and even increasing global warming pollution.

“If we mandate more biofuels while turning a blind eye to their environmental impact, we run the risk of increasing imports from fragile areas in Brazil and Southeast Asia?and threatening our farmland and natural resources here at home. What’s worse, we could actually increase global warming pollution?the very problem that we need to be solving.”

“The bill makes a nod in the direction of advanced biofuel options, such as cellulosic ethanol. But the legislation would essentially lock in corn ethanol at 15 billion gallons a year, which would require about half our country’s corn production. Moreover, the definition of advanced fuels could include a wide range of environmentally harmful biofuels, including imported fuel sources.”