U.S. Senators Urge EPA to Update Environmental Analysis on Ethanol

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U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa – members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry – have led a bipartisan group of senators urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to update what they call an “outdated” environmental analysis on ethanol in order to improve foreign sales opportunities.

The senators argue that peer-reviewed science conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture has affirmed U.S. ethanol lowers greenhouse-gas emissions 39% to 43% better than gasoline. According to the senators, the EPA has rejected all calls to update these calculations; instead, it is using data that is nearly 10 years old, which ignores the technological advancements in ethanol production.

“During the past five years, ethanol has been the fastest-growing agricultural export; as more nations adopt policies for lower-emission vehicle fuels, domestically produced ethanol can provide an immediate solution for their goals,” the members wrote in a letter to the EPA’s administrator, Andrew Wheeler. “We assert that there is little justification for EPA to maintain such an outdated calculation that otherwise could be easily corrected with existing, available analysis – and straightforwardly address an unnecessary obstacle to international trade.”

Along with Durbin and Grassley, the letter was also signed by U.S. Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; Tina Smith, D-Minn.; John Thune, R-S.D.; Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.; Roy Blunt, R-Mo.; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.; Deb Fischer, R-Neb.; and Josh Hawley, R-Mo.

The senators urged the EPA to adopt the scientific model “Greenhouse gas and Regulated Emissions and Energy Use in Transportation,” or GREET, developed by Argonne National Laboratory, a division of the U.S. Department of Energy. According to the senators, more than 30,000 organizations worldwide use the updated model, including the Federal Aviation Administration, NASA, Ford, General Motors, and oil companies such as BP and PetroChina.

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