Growth Energy Slams ARB Staff Report on New Low Carbon Fuel Standard Rules

March 5, 2009

Calls on Board Members to Reject Report – Says Inclusion of Indirect Land Use Change Models Could Harm More Than Help in Fight Against Carbon Emissions

SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Growth Energy today called on the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to reject rules developed by its staff that would impose unfair standards in calculating the carbon intensity of fuels as part of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). The ARB staff report released today calls for the adoption of a flawed indirect land use change (ILUC) theory that would only penalize biofuels while ignoring the significant indirect effects of other fuel types, including gasoline. In a letter sent earlier this week, a group of more than 100 scientists and academics asked Governor Schwarzenegger not to include ILUC models in the current regulations and instead to “support a rigorous 24-month analysis of the indirect, market-mediated effects of petroleum and the entire spectrum of alternative fuels, regardless of source.”

“Our members are committed to growing California’s economy through cleaner, greener energy and we applaud California’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions,” said General Wesley Clark, co-chairman of Growth Energy. “However, it would not only be bad science, but also bad policy to adopt a regulation that creates unfair standards, forces California to continue its reliance on dirty fossil fuels, and further damages the state’s frail economy. I urge the members of the Air Resources Board to reject the staff report and adopt an alternative solution that helps meet the original goal of lowering carbon emissions.”

Earlier this month, Growth Energy released a policy briefing outlining the problems with ILUC models and how adoption of such a policy could backfire on the state’s original goals of reducing carbon emissions. In addition, Growth Energy recommended a series of alternative policies that CARB could pursue that would be much more effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. (Read the policy brief here: http://www.growthenergy.org/GrowthEnergy/press/GE-Policy-Briefing-on-California.pdf.)

According to the ILUC theory proposed by ARB staff, corn used for ethanol displaces other crops, like soybeans, decreasing exports and causing farmers in Brazil to cut down rainforest and grow soybeans to fill the demand. Growth Energy’s policy paper debunks two main concepts that serve as the foundation for current ILUC theory. First, the facts show that using corn for ethanol has not led to sharp decreases in grain exports and is unlikely to in the future. According to USDA projections, exports for corn and soybeans are likely to remain steady or grow slightly through 2015. Second, ILUC theory claims that producing ethanol from corn drives deforestation in the Amazon. However, data from Brazil’s National Institute of Space Research shows that even while U.S. ethanol production has dramatically increased, deforestation in the Amazon has significantly decreased.

By setting an unequal playing field for petroleum and biofuels, the ARB risks shutting down the entire ethanol industry in California. Each 50 million gallon ethanol plant in California creates 700 direct/indirect jobs, $150 million in state GDP and $83 million in annual spending. The full implementation of the state’s mandate to have ten percent of the gasoline supply to be blended with ethanol could provide 16,000 direct/indirect jobs, $4.5 billion in state GDP and $2.4 billion in annual spending.

The effort to include ILUC models for carbon intensity stems from the establishment of the LCFS. In January 2007, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed an Executive Order establishing the LCFS to lower the carbon intensity of California’s transportation fuels by 10 percent by 2020. Governor Schwarzenegger charged the California Air Resources Board (ARB) with developing the regulations that would govern the LCFS and the agency is now in the final stages of releasing a draft rule for public comment with the final rule to be voted on by the ARB on April 23 or 24.

About Growth Energy

Growth Energy is a group committed to the promise of agriculture and growing America’s economy through cleaner, greener energy. Growth Energy members recognize America needs a new ethanol approach. Through smart policy reform and a proactive grassroots campaign, Growth Energy promotes reducing greenhouse gas emissions, expanding the use of ethanol in gasoline, decreasing our dependence on foreign oil, and creating American jobs at home. More information can be found at GrowthEnergy.org.

SOURCE Growth Energy

Source: newswire

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