EPA Urged to Push Biofuels Out of Food Domain

US - A delegation of 58 members of Congress sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) encouraging the agency to pursue advancing the development of cellulosic biofuels and other fuels that do not contribute to rising food prices and environmental concerns as it evaluates the impact of renewable fuel standards.
calendar icon 19 June 2008
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“As you know, domestic food prices are rising twice as fast as inflation and global food prices have nearly doubled in the last three years,” the letter, addressed to Administrator Steve Johnson, states. “There are many factors contributing to rising prices, including growing global demand, the price of oil, import restrictions, poor weather and the recent acknowledgement that the biofuels mandate is also a factor.”

Approximately 25 percent of America’s corn crop was diverted to produce ethanol in 2007 and 30 to 35 percent will be diverted in 2008.

The letter encourages the use of cellulosic biofuel, noting that cellulosic biofuel could displace one-third or more of domestic gasoline supplies, could significantly reduce the price of gasoline and could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fuels by 80 percent or more, while fuels derived from corn and other crops will displace only about 4 percent of America’s gasoline supplies this year.

“As you evaluated the impact of the renewable fuels standard on rising food prices, we urge you to do so in a way that will accelerate the development of advanced biofuels,” the letter concludes.

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