NWF to Host Media Briefing on EPA Report Detailing Environmental Impacts of Biofuels Mandate
Phone Briefing for Journalists Wednesday, August 1, 2018, 1-2 P.M.
To RSVP and receive toll-free number and code, contact Jordan Lubetkin, National Wildlife Federation, firstname.lastname@example.org, (734) 887-7109
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently released a sweeping assessment detailing the environmental consequences of the nation’s biofuels policy under the Renewable Fuel Standard. Impacts include destroyed habitat, increased runoff pollution, and degraded water quality.
The report is the first acknowledgement by the U.S. government that federal mandates to blend corn- and soy-based fuels into gasoline are wreaking havoc on wildlife habitat and water resources.
Unfortunately, though not unsurprisingly, the Trump Administration tried to bury the report—releasing it Friday afternoon before the week of July 4th. Despite the unacceptable four-year delay in releasing the report as required by law – a delay that goes back to the Obama Administration—the report validates the many concerns conservation groups have with federal biofuels policy.
At the National Wildlife Federation, we believe that the findings are too important to ignore, among them:
- The Renewable Fuel Standard has contributed to massive conversion of wildlife habitat to corn and soybeans.
- Demand for biofuel feedstocks may contribute to harmful algal blooms, as recently observed in western Lake Erie, and to hypoxia, as observed in the northern Gulf of Mexico.
- Expansion of corn production in arid Western states is adding additional stress to over-tapped water supplies such as the Ogallala aquifer.
- The conversion of environmentally-sensitive land to corn and soy production brings declines in ecosystem health and biodiversity.
- Conversion of grasslands to corn and soy production adversely affects soil quality, with increases in erosion and the loss of soil nutrients and soil organic matter, including soil carbon.
- Increasing biodiesel imports could potentially have major land and habitat implications in other countries.
The report serves as a stark reminder that the Renewable Fuel Standard is broken, and that environmental concerns need to be taken into consideration as federal lawmakers grapple with how to reform the nation’s biofuels policy.
To date, the federal discussion has been dominated by the special interest of Big Ag and Big Oil, with scant consideration of environmental consequences. And there are many.
That’s why we’re convening a briefing for journalists on the report—the Second Triennial Report to Congress.
At the briefing, conservation leaders and scientists will highlight major findings of the report, reactions from conservation and scientific leaders, what comes next in the effort to reform the nation’s Renewable Fuel Standard, and recommendations for reforming federal biofuel policies.
The National Wildlife Federation’s David DeGennaro, who serves as agriculture policy specialist, will be joined by Jonathan Lewis, senior counsel – climate policy, Clean Air Task Force; Dr. Tyler Lark, associate researcher, Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment, University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Dr. Kent Hoekman, research professor, emeritus, Desert Research Institute.
The briefing is meant for journalists only. If you are a member of the media and would like to attend, please reach out to Jordan Lubetkin at email@example.com, (734) 887-7109, to receive call-in information.