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果冻直播Ag NewsLeading Scientists Urge Court to Reject Faulty Land Use Change Arguments

Leading Scientists Urge Court to Reject Faulty Land Use Change Arguments

Story courtesy of Renewable Fuels Association

The nation鈥檚 leading experts in agricultural economics and biofuels lifecycle analysis聽聽to reject erroneous claims made by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) in its lawsuit challenging EPA鈥檚 2023-2025 Renewable Fuel Standard volumes.

In its challenge to EPA鈥檚 so-called 鈥淩FS set rule,鈥 CBD relied on debunked studies by University of Wisconsin researcher Tyler Lark, and others, to wrongly suggest the RFS has caused habitat loss and conversion of grasslands into cropland. In their detailed amicus brief submitted last week, eight scientists informed the court that the Lark studies and CBD鈥檚 claims are 鈥渄ivorced from scientific evidence and reality鈥 and 鈥渂ased on outdated, flawed, and disproven research.鈥 They pointed out that 鈥渢here is simply no valid scientific evidence behind claims that RFS-driven demand for ethanol production leads to the conversion of grasslands not previously farmed.鈥

The independent brief was submitted by experts from the University of California Davis, University of Idaho, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Illinois at Chicago, Oak Ridge National Laboratory/University of Tennessee, South Dakota State University, WSP USA and CropGrower LLC. Over the past 20 years, these scientists have conducted extensive peer-reviewed research on land use and biofuels lifecycle greenhouse gas analysis, much of which has informed regulatory decision-making by EPA on the RFS program.

鈥淣either biofuel production nor the RFS has been scientifically linked to the conversion of 鈥榥atural鈥 lands, such as native prairies, forests, and wetlands, to crop production,鈥 the researchers told the court. 鈥淓xperts in the field of biomass and agricultural economics have demonstrated that much of the outlier research was based on flawed assumptions and methods related to land use.鈥

In reality, biofuels like ethanol have significant GHG benefits, according to the experts鈥 brief. 聽鈥淯pdated analyses have repeatedly confirmed that low-carbon biofuels reduce GHG emissions in the transportation sector,鈥 they wrote. 鈥淭he GHG intensity for biofuels decreased by about 50 percent and is currently estimated to be more than 40 percent lower than gasoline produced from crude oil.鈥

They also noted ethanol producers are on a pathway to net zero lifecycle emissions, specifically highlighting the聽聽in 2021. 鈥淢embers of the Renewable Fuels Association have announced a commitment to further reduce the carbon intensity of corn ethanol, aiming to achieve a 70-percent reduction compared to petroleum gasoline by 2030 and net neutral status by 2050,鈥 according to the brief.

The amicus brief cites a robust body of recent research that thoroughly debunks Lark鈥檚 previous work, including聽聽that more than 98 percent of the land claimed by Lark to be 鈥渃onverted鈥 from 鈥渘ative lands鈥 to cropland had actually been previously engaged in crop production.

RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper offered the following comment on the amicus brief: 鈥淎s we聽, the walls are closing in around the Center for Biological Diversity, Tyler Lark, the National Wildlife Federation, and other anti-biofuel activists who perpetuate the ridiculous land use change myth. In his newest work, even Lark is now admitting that U.S. cropland continued to shrink as biofuels production expanded. We applaud this group of experts for their independent efforts to stand up for scientific integrity. Their amicus brief deftly exposes the flawed and misleading claims made by CBD about the environmental impacts of biofuels like ethanol.鈥

EPA filed its initial reply to CBD鈥檚 claims last week, noting that the agency鈥檚 own analysis of potential land use impacts 鈥溾ound all potential effects to be either discountable, insignificant, or both.鈥 RFA has intervened on behalf of EPA in the litigation challenging the 2023-2025 RFS volumes.

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