EPA Cannot Yet Identify Environmental Impact of RFS

Source: By ASHA GLOVER, Morning Consult • Posted: Monday, August 22, 2016

The Environmental Protection Agency has not complied with requirements necessary to identify the environmental impact of the Renewable Fuel Standard, according to an EPA Office of Inspector General report released Thursday.

Because the EPA has not met those requirements, there is no objective analysis for the effects and consequences of the policy, the EPA’s OIG said.

The EPA has not met a requirement to provide Congress with a report every three years on the effects of biofuels. According to the report, the last time the EPA provided such a report was in 2011. The EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation has also failed to meet requirements to analyze and address negative air quality impacts of the standard.

“The EPA does not have an assessment that meets the requirement to identify whether RFS creates any impacts on air quality and, thus, take required measures to mitigate impacts,” according to the OIG report summary. “This information is needed to fully inform the EPA, Congress and other stakeholders of the environmental impacts of U.S. biofuel policy.”

The office recommended the EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Research and Development provide Congress with with triennial reports on biofuel impacts as required, complete the anti-backsliding study on negative air quality effects. The EPA has agreed with the recommendations and provided planned completion dates.

The Renewable Fuels Association agreed with the report, saying the organization has also called on the EPA to update its carbon scoring of fuels blended with ethanol.

“We are confident that once EPA conducts these required studies, they will show that biofuels like ethanol are significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, even above the threshold reductions,” RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen said in a statement.