Biogenic CO2 Coalition Urges Congress to Weigh In on Expected EPA Rulemaking That Will Harm U.S. Agriculture & Bioeconomy Job Growth

May 11, 2020

Supports Effort To Address Woody Biomass But Says Any Rulemaking Must Also Address Agricultural Feedstocks 

WASHINGTON, DC – The Biogenic CO2 Coalition, a working group of leading trade associations and companies that support American agriculture, is urging Members of Congress to seek assurances from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that it will close a regulatory loophole that is hurting the U.S. agriculture industry and job growth in the broader bioeconomy.

As Inside EPA and other media outlets have reported in recent weeks, the EPA is soon expected to advance a rule addressing biogenic CO2 from woody biomass, but not from annual crops, despite bipartisan support in Congress and numerous scientific studies confirming that it does not contribute to excess greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. 

In its letter to Capitol Hill today, the Coalition said that while it would support EPA’s position that woody biomass does not contribute to excess greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, it would strongly object to EPA’s failure to address the need for a similar determination for biogenic emissions from the processing of agricultural feedstocks. “Extensive scientific literature and positions of government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, agree that biogenic emissions from crop-based feedstocks are carbon neutral, de minimis or insignificant from a carbon accounting and regulatory perspective. There is no scientific or practical reason for EPA to ignore the life cycle of annual crops,” the Coalition writes today.

The Coalition also reiterated that continued inaction by the EPA is particularly harmful to the development of the U.S. bioeconomy.  “The bioeconomy provides 21st century solutions to economic growth, domestic energy security, and environmental benefits in the form of bioenergy, biofuels, and bioproducts made from corn, oilseeds, crop residues, farm wastes and other agricultural feedstocks. America’s bioeconomy currently contributes $393 billion in economic activity, provides 4.2 million American jobs, and is the leading source of domestic renewable energy in the United States. Building on the success of pioneering biotechnology, our Coalition members are poised to invest billions of dollars in rural America. Without regulatory relief, that significant opportunity for rural America’s economic development will be missed and American farmers will face even greater competition from overseas,” the letter states.  

The letter concludes by urging Members of Congress to continue highlighting the bipartisan support for this issue to the EPA, writing, “[W]e respectfully urge your efforts to provide EPA the Congressional input that it apparently needs to recognize the biogenic CO2 from annual crops is de minimis.”  

Read the full letter here.