The US Needs a 'True' Biofuels Policy: Environmental Working Group

wind turbines corn field photo

photo: Brooke Raymond via flickr

The good people at Environmental Working Group have issued a statement saying that, as US biofuels policy is not achieving the goals of decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, decreasing the nation's reliance on foreign oil, decreasing the price of gasoline, or bolstering US agriculture (other than certain parts of it, and at the direct expense of others), America needs a "true renewable energy policy."

Though I've never been much a fan of wading into the 'this isn't a "true" this or that' debate—you can say that the current policy isn't working, but it's not an 'untrue' or 'false' policy—this what EWG proposes as the truth:In order the avoid the unintended consequences associated with the current US biofuels policy, the following steps should be taken:

1. Ensure that all policy incentives for renewable fuels, including mandates and subsidies, require attainment of minimum environmental performance standards for production and use, to ensure that publicly supported "renewable fuels" do not degrade our natural resources.

2. Restrict the [Renewable Fuels Standard] to fuel options that do not cause environmental harm, adverse human health impacts or economic disruption.

3. Tie the biofuels tax credit to the performance standards.

4. Rebalance the US renewable energy and energy conservation portfolio to reflect the relative contribution these options can make to reducing fossil fuel use, enhancing the environment, spurring economic development, and increasing energy security.

5. Support research to improve the analysis of net climate impacts, net non-climate environmental impacts, commodity price impacts, and other social factors that are substantially affected by policies that promote biofuels.

For more details on each of these points: Environmental Working Group
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