Ron Lamberty, Senior Vice President for the American Coalition for Ethanol called a new anti-ethanol study released Thursday ridiculous. “This study takes a couple of real things, connects them in an imaginary scenario, and then multiplies over time, to create a big, scary conclusion. A couple of weeks ago, that same “study” process was featured in the release of the latest “Godzilla” movie,” Lamberty said. “The truth is, there is no Godzilla, and there is no way that burning more oil is better for the environment than replacing it with more ethanol – even after you add some of the fictitious elements that have been added to the ethanol story over time.”
“This latest ethanol hit-piece says ‘more than eight million acres of grassland and wetlands were converted for corn alone,’ while the latest USDA Census of Agriculture shows farm acreage dropping by nearly eight million acres from 2007 to 2012, the first five years of the Renewable Fuel Standard. These people expect us to believe farmers were spending time and money to drain wetlands and plow marginal land while they quit farming productive cropland. That’s ridiculous. Not only that, the law they want to overturn specifically outlaws that practice,” said Lamberty.
The Energy Independence and Security Act, which authorized the RFS, required that corn and other feedstocks used to produce renewable fuels may only be sourced from land that was actively engaged in agricultural production in 2007, the year of the bill’s enactment. Under the law, feedstocks grown on land converted to cropland after 2007 do not qualify as “renewable biomass,” and therefore biofuels produced from these feedstocks would not generate credits for the RFS. Also, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required to annually evaluate whether the RFS is causing U.S. cropland to expand beyond the 2007 level of 402 million acres (the year the RFS was expanded). Each and every year since then, the EPA has found that cropland has been below the 2007 baseline; and the 2012 cropland total was at its lowest point (384 million acres) since the EPA began this annual analysis.