WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt to request that the EPA complete overdue studies assessing the impact of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) on air, water, and land quality. The full letter is available here, and below:
Dear Administrator Pruitt:
I request that you fulfill EPA’s obligation to complete studies assessing the environmental impacts of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) under sections 211(v) of the Clean Air Act and 204 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). Under section 211(v) of the Clean Air Act, EPA was required, by May 19, 2009, to study whether the RFS “will adversely impact air quality.” To date, EPA has never completed that study. Under section 204 of EISA, EPA was required to report to Congress on the RFS’ impacts to the environment and resource conservation every three years. To date, EPA has issued only one report – in December 2011.
Over the last several years, the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works has heard increasing concerns about the environmental impacts of the RFS. Most recently, Jonathan Lewis of the Clean Air Task Force testified that: “According to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s own data, the incremental additional corn ethanol produced in response to the 2007 expansion of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has higher lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline.” A growing body of independent academic research has also documented the RFS’ impacts on air, water and land quality, wildlife habitat, and other sensitive ecosystems.
On August 18, 2016, EPA’s Inspector General issued a report calling on EPA to complete these studies. In response, EPA said it would finish the report under section 204 of EISA by December 31, 2017, and the study under section 211(v) of the Clean Air Act by September 30, 2024. While I ask that you adhere to the agency’s timeframe for the former, EPA’s completion date for the latter is unacceptable. EPA cannot ignore the will of Congress and the requirements of the Clean Air Act for 17 years. I ask that you complete this study no later than September 30, 2018.
Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to your prompt response.
John Barrasso, M.D.
U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works