Appeals Court Rules on EPA Biofuels Estimate

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Washington Post - January 28, 2013

A fed­eral appeals court has ruled that the EPA is over­es­ti­mat­ing the amount of fuel that can be pro­duced from grasses, wood and other non­food plants.

Find out what is at issue here.

A fed­eral appeals court has ruled that the Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency is over­es­ti­mat­ing the amount of fuel that can be pro­duced from grasses, wood and other non­food plants in an effort to pro­mote a fledg­ling bio­fu­els industry.

At issue is a 2007 renewable-fuels law that requires a cer­tain amount of those types of fuels, called cel­lu­losic bio­fu­els, to be mixed in with gaso­line each year. Despite annual EPA pro­jec­tions that the indus­try would pro­duce small amounts of the bio­fu­els, none of that pro­duc­tion materialized.

There have been high hopes in Wash­ing­ton that the cel­lu­losic indus­try would take off as farm­ers, food man­u­fac­tur­ers and oth­ers blamed the sky­rock­et­ing pro­duc­tion of corn ethanol fuel for higher food prices. Those groups said the diver­sion of corn crops for fuel pro­duc­tion raised prices for ani­mal feed and even­tu­ally for con­sumers at the gro­cery store. Law­mak­ers hoped that non­food sources such as switch­grass or corn husks could be used instead, though the indus­try had not yet got­ten off the ground.

 

 

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