When it comes to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the long awaited, much debated and anticipated 2014 biofuel blending requirements announcement, it’s time to steady the course and proceed full steam ahead.
Fresh information on the economic benefits of the RFS, and the national security and environmental benefits of home grown energy should be enough to transform the thinking of federal officials and legislators who hold the 2014 announcement captive.
Recently, Fuels America released a new analysis, which shows that because of the RFS, the renewable fuel sector generates $184.5 billion of total economic output annually across the United States. In addition, more than 852-thousand jobs are supported, while $46.2 billion in wages and $14.5 billion in tax revenue is also realized. That’s positive news.
This week, the Pentagon, bulwark of information and planning, announced they are preparing for “Climate Wars,” with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel going so far as to outline the case and share the some of their “battle” plans which include greater reliance on renewable fuels. Fuels the development of which is being driven by the RFS. A bold move.
On the environmental front, the Argonne National Laboratory has released the latest version of the GREET (Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy use in Transportation) model, which is used to evaluate energy and emission impacts of advanced vehicle technologies and new transportation fuels. The indirect land use change value in the updated carbon calculator for land use change from biofuels production for corn ethanol is now four-times lower than the value used by the U.S. EPA in determining GHG reduction relative to gasoline for the renewable fuels standard.
The changes in the corn land use numbers in this round of modeling are significantly lower than previous years because soil organic matter modeling was used. This key change in the biophysical carbon model allows the ANL team to make a soil carbon adjustment for each feedstock.
Together this news reaffirms the need for EPA to abandon its flawed methodology for setting biofuel blending requirements and to follow the congressionally established levels. Conventional and cellulosic ethanol, biodiesel, and advanced biofuels are of economic consequence, and they bring many environmental and security benefits.
When it comes to the RFS, it’s time to make sure the message is clearly heard—renewable fuels are important today, and will be even more important tomorrow. It’s time for the Obama administration to steady the course with the RFS and proceed full speed ahead— implementing it the way congress intended.