EPA will study ethanol’s impact on air quality after long delay

Source: By Jarrett Renshaw, Reuters • Posted: Monday, February 25, 2019

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Friday it has agreed to conduct a long-delayed study to assess the impact that burning ethanol as a motor vehicle fuel has on air quality.

The Sierra Club had filed a lawsuit against the EPA late last year in an effort to compel the agency to conduct the study, which the group said was supposed to be done roughly eight years ago. The two parties reached a partial agreement and the EPA said it will conduct the so-called anti-backsliding study by March of 2020.

The outcome of the study could trigger new EPA action on the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the law requiring the use of biofuels in the nation’s gasoline and diesel, if it finds that burning ethanol makes the air dirtier.

The RFS, first established in 2005, has been a financial boon for farmers, but environmental groups like Sierra Club say it creates an incentive to convert land for farming and helps maintain a dependence on combustible engines.

Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Paul Simao