WASHINGTON, D.C., May 21, 2009 – Agriculture and energy groups said today that indirect land use calculations should not be used to regulate the production of renewable fuels, calling the idea “a theory that defies reality.” The comments were made in a letter sent by the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Farmers Union and Growth Energy to House Agriculture Committee Chair Collin Peterson (Minn.) and Ranking Member Frank Lucas (Okla.) in support of ‘The Renewable Fuel Standard Improvement Act’ (H.R. 2409).
“It is our strong belief that the theory of using indirect land use calculations for determining the life cycle emissions of a liquid fuel is unrealistic and problematic,” said the letter. “There are too many unanswered questions about how it is defined and implemented. It is not based on universally accepted science, and should not be used to regulate the production of renewable fuels by our nation’s farmers and renewable fuels producers.”
According to the groups, using indirect land use calculations would also put U.S. agriculture in jeopardy by making farmers responsible for actions in other countries, which are beyond their control. Far too many variables determine other nations’ farming practices, including macro economic issues, worldwide weather and productivity gains, as well as variable uses for the same commodity.
Using Brazil as an example, the groups cited that “Brazil has been deforesting for decades – long before corn ethanol or biodiesel were viable industries. In fact over the past 5 years ethanol production has nearly doubled, while at the same time deforestation in Brazil has been reduced by 50 percent.”
In other areas of H.R. 2409, the groups said they supported provisions to define biomass, increase the participation of both the Agriculture and Energy Departments and to grandfather bio-diesel plants.
“We will also continue to work thru the EPA rulemaking process to address our concerns about the science, the modeling, and other provisions of the RFSII rule to ensure that our nation continues to advance renewable fuels,” the letter concluded.