Progress Report

First triennial biofuels report being drafted for Congress
By Kris Bevill | April 15, 2011

The U.S. EPA is in the process of preparing its first triennial report to Congress on biofuels, as required in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. An initial draft released in late February drew harsh criticism from ethanol groups, who said the draft went too far in assuming worst-case scenarios and, in some instances, simply wasn’t technically accurate. In comments filed with the EPA, Growth Energy gave one example of the report’s technical inaccuracies. “Line 97 in Chapter 3 states ‘…the percentage of corn acreage dedicated to ethanol could rise.’ Although the economics of corn production are enhanced by ethanol, a corn crop is typically not planted for the primary purpose of ethanol production,” the group stated.

The Renewable Fuels Association took issue with the report’s failure to include a baseline petroleum comparison for environmental impacts and said the report should be significantly revised before it is presented to Congress. The EPA held a peer review meeting on March 14 to review the draft, but none of the panel members, all of whom were selected by the EPA, were representatives of the biofuels industry. Industry members familiar with the draft say the report will only serve to reinforce ill-conceived notions about biofuels in comparison to fossil fuels. The final report is due to Congress mid-year and will be used to influence future biofuels policy. 

—Kris Bevill