EWG and Allies Urge Defeat of Biofuels Green House Gas Analysis Exemption

American Bird Conservancy * Center for Biological Diversity * Clean Air Task Force Clean Water Action * Defenders of Wildlife * Environment America * Environmental Working Group * Environmental Defense Fund * Earthjustice * Ecology Center * Friends of the Earth * League of Conservation Voters * National Audubon Society * National Wildlife Federation * Natural Resources Defense Council * The Nature Conservancy * Pew Environment Group * Southern Alliance for Clean Energy * Southern Environmental Law Center * The Wilderness Society * Union of Concerned Scientists

Representative David R. Obey
2314 House Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515

Representative Jerry Lewis
2112 House Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515

June 18, 2009

Dear Representative,

On behalf of our millions of members and activists, we strongly urge you to oppose the Emerson Amendment (#019) and any other attempts to sidestep the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) process to assess the full lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of biofuels (including emissions from indirect land-use change). The Emerson Amendment is a backdoor attempt to prevent EPA from conducting this analysis and would stop the use of solid scientific analysis to guide biofuels policy. The Emerson Amendment undermines sound science. We urge you to oppose this amendment and allow EPA to move forward with its peer-reviewed scientific process.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) mandated a massive ramp up in the production of biofuels and required that these biofuels perform better than gasoline on a full lifecycle assessment of greenhouse gas emissions. This analysis included emissions from indirect land-use change. Scientific research continues to demonstrate that biofuel policies, like the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), would accelerate global warming if the policy shifts farmland or forests from food and fiber production to biofuels feedstock production.

While agriculture and forestry are poised to be leaders in sustainable climate solutions, to realize this opportunity we need policies built on sound science. Science supports the inclusion of indirect land-use change in the assessment of biofuels. The Emerson Amendment would prevent EPA from completing its ongoing scientific review process on indirect land-use emissions from biofuels. Instead of blocking sound science, rigorous analysis is needed to encourage the production of biofuels that reduce global warming pollution on a full lifecycle basis. This amendment prejudges the science and ignores greenhouse gas emissions that result from clearing native grasslands and forests due to biofuels production. This could undermine the nation’s efforts to reduce global warming pollution, since biofuels with higher emissions than petroleum would still qualify for the RFS.

Our organizations strongly oppose any provision that would prevent EPA from conducting a full lifecycle assessment of the greenhouse gas emission standards from biofuels in the Renewable Fuels Standard. The EPA is currently using the best available science to implement the RFS and is evaluating the impacts of biofuels in an open and transparent way. That process should be respected and allowed to proceed to completion. Stopping this process weakens the global warming standards and is an affront to the best and most recent science available. We ask that you oppose the Emerson Amendment and any other provision that would block EPA from implementing a full greenhouse gas lifecycle analysis of biofuels.


Darin C. Schroeder
Vice President of Conservation Advocacy
American Bird Conservancy
Tiernen Sittenfeld
Legislative Director
League of Conservation Voters
Bill Snape
Senior Counsel
Center for Biological Diversity
Mike Daulton
Legislative Director
National Audubon Society
Jonathan Lewis
Clean Air Task Force
Julie M. Sibbing
Director, Global Warming, Agriculture & Wildlife
National Wildlife Federation
Lynn Thorp
National Campaigns Coordinator
Clean Water Action
Franz Matzner
Acting Legislative Director
Natural Resources Defense Council
Mary Beth Beetham
Director of Legislative Affairs
Defenders of Wildlife
Robert Bendick
Director of US Government Relations
The Nature Conservancy
Anna Aurilio
Washington DC Office Director
Environment America
Karen Steuer
Director, Government Operations
Pew Environment Group
Elizabeth Thompson
Legislative Director
Environmental Defense Fund
Anne Blair
Program Manager, Clean Diesel & Bioenergy
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Sandra Schubert, JD, MA
Director of Government Affairs
Environmental Working Group
Nat Mund
Legislative Director
Southern Environmental Law Center
Martin Hayden Vice President of Policy and Legislation Earthjustice Michelle Robinson
Director, Clean Vehicles Program
Union of Concerned Scientists
Charles Griffith
Clean Car Campaign Director
Ecology Center
David Moulton
Director, Climate Policy & Conservation Funding
The Wilderness Society
Erich Pica
Director of Domestic Programs
Friends of the Earth
Michael O'Hare, Prof. of Public Policy
Goldman School of Public Policy
Affiliate, Energy & Resources Group
University of California - Berkeley

CC: House Appropriations Committee

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