The Biotechnology Industry Organization has sent a letter to Senator Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, asking that amendments are made to the cap-and-trade legislation that was recently drafted. They want is stated clearly that biofuels, including the biofuel part of fuel blends should not be subject to the greenhouse gas emissions cap since they are already regulated by the Renewable Fuels Standard.
"When it comes to climate change legislation, Congress has focused a great deal of attention on stationary emission sources, such as coal-fired power plants," said Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section. "We cannot, however, achieve a low-carbon future without biofuels, because biofuels can play a key role in reducing direct CO2 emissions from the transportation sector. While fossil fuels release carbon that has been stored deep underground for millions of years into the atmosphere, biofuels recycle atmospheric carbon."
Erickson says that biomass production in some cases can sequester more carbon in the soil than is released by biofuel consumption. Because of this, Erickson says any climate change legislation should not treat biofuels the same as fossil fuels.
"Currently drafted legislation to regulate carbon emissions leaves some ambiguity as to whether the biofuels component of fuel blends is counted under the cap," Erickson said. Biofuels are mandated by the federal Renewable Fuel Standard to achieve substantial lifecycle greenhouse gas improvements compared to petroleum-based fuels. Any effort to place tailpipe emissions of biofuels under the CO2 cap would therefore impose a double greenhouse gas emissions compliance obligation on biofuels."