The ethanol mandates contained in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) are a perfect example of good intentions gone wrong.
In the past five years alone, we've lost over five million acres of conservation land as Big Ethanol plows away planting more and more corn to feed their record profits. All the while, corn farmers use 195 lbs of nitrogen fertilizer per acre of corn—much of which runs off into the Mississippi and contributes to the growing dead zone devoid of marine life in the Gulf of Mexico.
It's time for a change. Join organizations like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Environmental Working Group and Friends of the Earth in calling for a change to U.S. biofuels policy.
For the sake of our environment, stand with the EPA and support their decision to lower ethanol mandates.
Dear Administrator McCarthy:
I am writing to express my concern about the negative impact of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) on our environment. I urge you to take action to prevent any further damage to our environment from the federal corn ethanol mandates contained in the Renewable Fuel Standard by supporting efforts to lower the 2014 Renewable Volume Obligations and congressional efforts to reform the RFS.
[Insert personal comments]
The RFS has troubling impacts on our environment most notably when it comes to land conversion. Since President Obama took office in 2009, over five million acres of American conservation land—an area larger than the size of Yellowstone, Everglades and Yosemite National Parks combined—have been plowed to make room for more corn crops to fulfill federal ethanol mandates.
The process of plowing conservation land more than negates any sort of reduced emissions claimed by mandate supporters. Researchers from Princeton University found that the land conversion process spurred on by federal ethanol mandates doubles emissions over a 30 year period. Even the EPA's own data has revealed worsened air quality and increased emissions as a result of the RFS.
In addition to land use and emissions impacts, federal biofuels mandates present a serious threat to our water supply. From field to final product, the process of producing ethanol strains our valuable resources. Between 2005 (the year the RFS was passed) and 2010, corn farmers increased their nitrogen fertilizer usage by over 1 billion pounds contributing to the growing dead zone devoid of life in the Gulf of Mexico—and it's only expected to get worse. Not to mention, it takes upwards of 30 times the amount of water to refine a gallon of ethanol than a gallon of gasoline, sucking up valuable resources during this time of intense drought.
The RFS is a broken policy having detrimental effects on the world around us. It's time to reform federal corn ethanol mandates: support the lowering of the 2014 Renewable Volume Obligations and congressional efforts to reform the RFS.