The ethanol industry told the EPA’s Science Advisory Board that there’s no science in its claim corn ethanol has ‘minimal climate benefits’ compared with gasoline. Renewable Fuels Association head Geoff Cooper challenged the EPA science board’s claim that the science on corn ethanol’s climate benefits is questionable.
Cooper argues the research on ethanol and climate is extensive. “From the Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the University of Illinois, DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the University of Toronto, and the California Air Resources Board. I can go on and on and on. There’s been a lot of analysis done in the last decade around corn ethanol’s carbon footprint, and it all comes out in relatively the same place – between a 40 and 50 percent GHG reduction.”
But Cooper says the EPA board, with no biofuel scientists, but only one from the Environmental Defense Fund, used limited research.
Cooper says, “The Science Advisory Board highlighted one study from the University of Wisconsin by a guy named Tyler Lark to provide support for their argument that there just isn’t enough known about ethanol’s carbon footprint, and it could be that corn ethanol doesn’t reduce GHGs at all.”
The Science Advisory Board also suggested the facts around cropland expansion are hard to pin down.
But Cooper noted EPA’s own reviews show a “steep downward trend” in cropland since 2007, urging the science board to go back to the drawing board to see what’s really happening in today’s corn ethanol industry.