Grassley defends ethanol during floor session

By Kris Bevill | March 05, 2009
Web exclusive posted March 24, 2009, at 5:15 p.m. CST

Ethanol and agriculture industry heavy-hitter Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, took to the U.S. Senate floor March 23 to bring attention to the potentially destructive policy lifecycle analysis and indirect land use policies currently under consideration at the U.S. EPA.

Grassley encouraged U.S. President Obama and his staff to closely examine the actions being considered by the EPA and stated that the agency's current path could lead to punishing U.S. biofuel producers for land use changes elsewhere. While he admitted it is a complex issue surrounded by a good deal of uncertainty, the Iowa senator pointed to several recent studies which defy the reasoning for the inclusion of indirect land use change in any policy. "There are a number of assumptions that can affect the conclusions about indirect land use changes," Grassley said. "With any model, if you put garbage in, you'll get garbage out. I want to make sure the EPA isn't putting garbage in."

Grassley and 10 other senators have sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, urging caution on the indirect land use issue. "We urged against any premature or inaccurate conclusions on indirect land use changes," Grassley reported. "The EPA should move forward by allowing for public review and refinement of the methodology they've developed."

The California Air Resources Board is also considering the inclusion of indirect land use change policy and Grassley brought that possibility to the Senate's attention as well.