Washington, D.C. – Environmental Working Group (EWG) joined a diverse group of stakeholders today to call on Congress to reform the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) because of its negative impact on the environment, farmers and taxpayers. The RFS requires refiners to blend 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuels (i.e. corn ethanol) into the U.S. fuel supply by 2015.
EWG Vice President of Government Affairs Scott Faber released the following statement:
“Corn ethanol has not only been a disaster for consumers, most farmers and taxpayers; it’s also been a disaster for the environment. In fact, it’s worse for the environment than Canadian tar sands.
“By dramatically increasing the price of corn, the corn ethanol mandate has, in just the last four years, contributed to the conversion of 23 million acres of wetland and grassland – an area the size of Indiana – to cropland. Thanks to the mandate, we have lost more wetlands and grasslands in the last four years than in the previous 40.
“By encouraging farmers to plow up wetlands and grasslands, the corn ethanol mandate is causing more carbon to be released into the atmosphere, causing more fertilizers and pesticides to wash off farm fields and destroying more habitat that supports wildlife – and millions of jobs. What’s more, burning more and more corn ethanol in gasoline releases more benzene, a known carcinogen, and other toxic air pollutants that are linked to asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory ailments.”