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Ethanol Industry Blasts EPA’s Science Board Over Corn Ethanol Claims

The ethanol industry blasted the Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board for downplaying the climate benefits of corn ethanol in a recent report. The Renewable Fuels Association argues in a letter to EPA head Michael Regan that his science board’s claims contradict research by USDA and the Energy Department, the California Air Resources Board, and the University of Illinois.

RFA CEO Geoff Cooper says, “They ignored the preponderance of scientific evidence that’s out there that shows corn ethanol absolutely reduces greenhouse gas emissions. All of those studies show that we’re in about a 40 to 50-percent reduction range compared to petroleum.”

Instead, EPA’s Science Advisory Board says ‘the best available science’ suggests there are ‘minimal or no climate benefits’ from replacing gasoline with corn ethanol. We asked Cooper if the EPA, with its long record of stymying greater ethanol use, is playing politics in favor of the White House’s push to electric vehicles.

He says, “I’m concerned that there are members of this Science Advisory Board that very much have a political agenda against corn ethanol and a political agenda in favor of mass electrification of our vehicle fleet.”

Cooper writes Administrator Regan that the science board’s review was biased and that there were no scientists with biofuel expertise. Rather, there was the chief scientist from the Environmental Defense Fund. Cooper says, “They’ve been lobbying for the repeal of the Renewable Fuel Standard and lobbying against ethanol for decades. And so, to think that you’re going to get some objective, unbiased perspective from that organization is laughable.”

Cooper says he’ll bring up his concerns during a September 21st Science Advisory Board meeting in D.C.

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