John Block Reports from Washington
John Block has dedicated his professional career to the fields of agriculture, food and health.
Indirect Land Use
Jun 05, 2009
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed to rule that “indirect land use” must be considered in calculating the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from biofuels. The issue is radio active.
If “indirect land use” is to be considered, that could kill the biofuels industry just as we are beginning to make a meaningful contribution to fuel needs. Do we have to take the blame for every time a Brazilian farmer removes some rain forest to graze his cattle or grow some soybeans? They were cutting forests long before ethanol was even an issue.
It is a fact that biofuels do deliver a net benefit in greenhouse gas emissions, unless you blame the industry for cutting down a tree in some other country.
The Administration’s support for Cap and Trade to cut carbon monoxide emissions is tied to this dispute. House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) has pushed his Cap and Trade bill out of Committee, but it still must be reviewed by eight other House Committees, including agriculture.
The bill requires that “indirect land use” be considered. That provision has sparked a war between rural Members of Congress, supporters of biofuels, and others in the Congress. The bill as it stands now does not have hardly any Republican support. And, House Ag Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) has put his foot down demanding farmers and ranchers be given fair and reasonable consideration. He is demanding that “indirect land use changes” such as cutting down forests not be used by EPA in calculating biofuel net benefits. Because there is no accepted scientific way to make an accurate calculation. In addition, similar calculations are not being applied to coal and petroleum.
Charging biofuels for “indirect land use” is discrimination.
Chairman Peterson claims to have 45 Democrats lined up to vote against the Cap and Trade bill unless agriculture’s concerns are resolved.
Keep the heat on Mr. Chairman!
Until next week, I am John Block from Washington, D.C.