New Expert Analysis Confirms Biogenic CO2 Emissions from Crops Would Meet EPA’s De Minimis Criteria

Sep 1, 2020

Science Continues to Confirm Why EPA Should Take Action & Remove Harmful Regulatory Barrier to Growth of U.S. Bioeconomy 

WASHINGTON, DC – One of the country’s leading experts in agricultural economics, finance, and trade has released a new white paper analysis today on the possible impact of excluding biogenic CO2 emissions from annual agricultural crops from Clean Air Act permitting programs. That study concludes that this policy change would not significantly affect current land use and should meet any reasonable de minimis criteria put forward by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  

This new analysis by Dr. Dermot Hayes, Professor of Agriculture & Life Sciences, Economics and Finance at Iowa State University, was commissioned by the Biogenic CO2 Coalition, a working group of leading trade associations that support American agriculture.  The Coalition has been calling for the fair, science-based treatment CO2 emissions from agricultural crops. Of note, Dr. Hayes is also a co-author on a widely-cited report led by Timothy Searchinger on the land-use impacts of diverting biomass feedstocks for fuel and bioproducts and is one of the most widely-respected voices in this field. In his new analysis, Dr. Hayes noted that, “The procedure used in this report is exactly that used to derive the original land-use change results in Searchinger et al.

Dr. Hayes’ analysis also comes on the heels of a recently-released scientific literature review conducted by leading researcher Dr. Seungdo Kim of Michigan State University’s Michigan Biotechnology Institute.  The literature review surveyed peer-reviewed journal articles from all over the world and confirmed that biogenic CO2 emissions from agriculture crops have a de minimis effect on greenhouse gases.  In the scientific literature review, Dr. Kim found that out of 108 articles reviews, an overwhelming 104 article reviews show biogenic CO2 emissions from agriculture crops “are completely balanced by biomass regrowth over a short period of time; i.e., carbon neutral.” 

“As one of the country’s leading experts in agricultural economics, we appreciate the thoughtful and thorough analysis that Dr. Hayes has given to this important issue, “said Thomas Parks, Spokesperson for the Biogenic CO2 Coalition. “This latest study further demonstrates that if the EPA follows the science and listens to the experts, they should quickly address this regulatory barrier that is harming U.S. agriculture and workers in America’s heartland.” 

In addition to Dr. Hayes and Dr. Kim, a group of 21 leading scientists also recently wrote a letter to the EPA asserting that is it imperative the agency act swiftly to adopt a rule that recognizes the de minimis character of annual agriculture crops.

Members of Congress also agree the EPA needs to provide regulatory clarity for annual farm crops.  Reps. Rodney Davis (R-IL), Collin Peterson (D-MN), Dave Loebsack (D-IA), and Roger Marshall (R-KS) recently sent a letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler requesting regulatory clarity for annual farm crops.

Last year, a bipartisan group of 18 Senators also pressed the EPA for swift action on this issue in a letter. A group of five Governors have also urged the agency for action on the same issue. 

The Coalition recently announced a new video and digital ad campaign asking why the EPA is still hindering the U.S. bioeconomy and rural industries by treating carbon emissions from common agricultural crops the same as those from fossil fuels. 

To view the full analysis, click here: