Renewable Fuels Assn. welcomes decision by California Air Resources Board to consider altering the state's indirect land use change penalties, but says proposals do not go far enough; group says there is no evidence that policy has caused land use changes

WASHINGTON , March 11, 2014 (press release) – The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is hosting a workshop this afternoon to discuss potential changes to indirect land use change (iLUC) penalties under the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). Based on a review of materials made available by CARB prior to the workshop, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen offered the following comment:

“CARB appears to be taking a small step in the right direction, but the science shows a much larger reduction to the iLUC penalty for corn ethanol is warranted. Just last week a group of 14 well-known scientists—including five members of CARB’s own expert work group—recommended CARB should lower the penalty by 50-80 percent, but CARB appears to be proposing just a 20 percent cut. The larger issue here is that in the five years since the LCFS was adopted, there have been no indications that the policy has caused—or will cause—any kind of land use change. Amazon deforestation has fallen to its lowest rate on record, U.S. cropland area continues to shrink, and U.S. forested area continues to increase. All of this suggests the iLUC hypothesis needs to be critically re-evaluated. If finalized, CARB’s apparent decision to ignore sound science and stick to an unjustified and exaggerated iLUC penalty for grain-derived ethanol will negatively impact California consumers. Under CARB’s apparent proposal, grain ethanol—the lowest-cost renewable fuel used in the California market today—will ultimately be replaced with higher-priced imported fuel.”

Read the letter to CARB from 14 scientists and researchers here.

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