Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.) released the following joint statement on a new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report, required by Congress, documenting the adverse environmental impacts of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS):
"This EPA report clearly shows that the over-reliance on corn and soybeans in the Renewable Fuel Standard has resulted in a host of adverse environmental impacts, including domestic and international land conversion, reduced water quality and availability, loss of biodiversity, and even worsening air quality. This long-overdue public report presents a stark contrast with the months of politically-motivated, closed-door discussions at the White House that have completely ignored the public health and environmental side of this issue.
"We believe any fruitful bipartisan discussions about the future of the Renewable Fuel Standard must fully consider the environmental and public health effects of the program. As the statutory volume requirements in the RFS sunset in 2022, members of Congress and stakeholders from all sides of this issue should come together to ensure cleaner domestic fuels have a strong future in the U.S. economy."
Udall and Welch have introduced the Growing Renewable Energy through Existing and New Environmentally Responsible (GREENER) Fuels Act, legislation to reform the RFS by mitigating harmful environmental impacts and advancing the next generation of biofuels. The lawmakers also wrote to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt calling on him to ensure that EPA abides by all legal and regulatory requirements when considering year-round sale of gasoline with 15 percent ethanol by volume (E15), and wrote to Pruitt to urge the release of the Second Triennial Report to Congress on Biofuels and the Environment, which had been significantly delayed.