THE EPA recently issued a positive report on biofuels that could fuel growth in ethanol production. The agency's new biofuels guidelines say ethanol production from corn meets its requirements for reducing greenhouse gases. This is contrary to what some environmentalists have been saying about corn-based ethanol.
The EPA is supposed to consider the climate benefits of using renewable fuel sources like ethanol. So the agency looked at everything involved in corn ethanol production, including increased fertilizer and land use. Corn held up under the scrutiny. Here's an abbreviated look at the EPA's statements:
Ethanol produced from corn starch at new natural gas, biomass or biogas-fired facilities with advanced technologies will meet a 20% emission reduction threshold. The threshold is compared to a 2005 gasoline baseline.
Biodiesel and renewable diesel from soy oil meet the 50% emission reduction in greenhouse gases as compared to the 2005 gas baseline.
Cellulosic ethanol and cellulosic diesel meet a 60% emission reduction for greenhouse gases.
This EPA report is a reaffirmation of the value of modern crop production techniques and the farmer's ability to farm in environmentally friendly ways. Ironically, President Obama, who has taken heat from farm groups, is now taking heat for favoring farm interests.
The issue of biofuels is far from resolved. But this EPA report may help clear the way for future increased biofuel use that can help Midwest corn producers.
Read our online blog BiofuelLines for updates on this report and other biofuel issues (blog.farmindustrynews.com/biofuellines).