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EPA Ignores Own Warnings in Refusing to Fix Ethanol Mandate

Decision Ignores Second Triennial Report, Threatens Continued Destruction of Waterways, Wildlife Habitat

Washington, DC — The Environmental Protection Agency’s refusal today to fix the federal program that mandates the use of corn ethanol, soy biodiesel and other biofuels in the nation’s fuel supply endangers Americans’ drinking water, clean air and wildlife habitat. The decision also flies in the face of the dire warning the EPA itself issued earlier this year on the devastating effects of increased ethanol production.

“Today’s action exemplifies the Trump Administration’s strategy of ignoring science in pursuit of its flawed policy goals,” said David DeGennaro, agriculture policy specialist for the National Wildlife Federation. “The EPA has the opportunity in the next year to completely re-write the biofuel mandate and finally set this policy on a sustainable path. We will urge the agency and Congress to enact changes along the lines of the GREENER Fuels Act, to promote truly sustainable biofuels while also protecting our drinking water, public health and wildlife habitat.”

The final rule issued today by the EPA is part of its annual process for implementing the biofuel blending requirements in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) adopted by Congress in 2007. The rule sets the number of gallons of biofuels to be blended into the domestic gasoline supply. The EPA’s 2019 final rule issued today fails to make meaningful adjustments to limit more damaging biofuels at the expense of cleaner, more sustainable fuels, and continues to ignore a statutory requirement to prevent habitat loss.

The National Wildlife Federation will urge the EPA to change course when it looks to revise the Renewable Fuel Standard in the spring. By law, the agency needs to assess and adjust biofuel volumes, because more sustainable fuel targets have not been met. A so-called “re-set” of the Renewable Fuel Standard will provide the opportunity to reform the law so that it meets the original goals of supporting clean, sustainable, wildlife-friendly fuels.

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