WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2016 - A group of major agriculture organizations has launched a grassroots campaign urging the Environmental Protection Agency to remove a “regulatory roadblock” to development of the nation’s emerging bioeconomy.
The Biogenic CO2 Coalition, representing the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Corn Growers Association, the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) and others, is calling on EPA to withdraw its attempt to regulate “sustainable” farming practices as a condition to feedstock eligibility under its Clean Power Plan (CPP) rulemaking.
“The Biogenic CO2 Coalition has shared its concerns with EPA and offered our resources to assist with its deliberations, but now is the time to increase public awareness by formally launching our initiative,” says John Bode, the coalition’s chairman and the president and CEO of the Corn Refiners Association.
As part of the campaign, the coalition sent letters to presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. The letter urges the candidates to announce their support of the bioeconomy and offer recognition that “agriculture offers key solutions to energy and environmental policy challenges.”
The coalition says that under EPA’s Clean Power Plan and other policies, EPA has been treating farm products as sources of greenhouse gas pollution. The coalition contends that farm feedstocks are not the same as fossil fuels or petrochemicals and should not be treated as such. The coalition emphasizes that, unlike fossil fuels or petrochemicals, the storing and releasing of CO2 is part of a natural biogenic cycle.
“We would like EPA to recognize, even on an interim basis while it continues to deliberate, the life-cycle benefits from crop-based feedstocks compared to fossil fuels and petrochemicals,” Bode says.
The coalition is urging Congress to stop EPA from “placing costly and unnecessary regulatory burdens” on farmers and processors, which is “effectively blocking” American agriculture and bioeconomy markets.
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