What is in this article?:
- Validity of RFS report questioned
- Inherent risks
- Biofuels have the potential for environmental and national security benefits compared to petroleum use. But the outcome depends on many factors, including feedstock, management practices, possible land-use changes and water availability.
Dale concurs with Secretary Vilsack's assessment that "the report is not based on the most current information." She cites as an example the failure of the report to consider the U.S. Billion Ton Update study, which details biomass feedstock potential nationwide, pointing out that, instead, outdated estimates of biomass production were used. Furthermore, she notes, the report does not include current information from bioenergy technology industries due to lack of published results and restrictions of proprietary data. Vilsack struck on a similar theme Tuesday when he said the report does not acknowledge the efforts being made in support of technological advances that can accelerate the development of the next generation of biofuels, including a series of recently announced USDA loan guarantees for advanced biofuel refineries under development in Hugoton, Kansas, and Emmetsburg, Iowa.
The 25x'25 Alliance concurs with Dr. Dale's assertion that biofuels represent a complicated issue, but that today's biofuel ventures must be willing to take the risks inherent in a new industry, despite many uncertainties and constraints. The eventual success of private enterprises for feedstock production, transport, conversion, delivery and use of biofuels, she says, depends on "contextual socioeconomic and environmental conditions."
While some critics would ignore the advances the biofuels industry is making and use the NRC report to attack the RFS, the Alliance believes it's critical to remember Dale's conclusion about the report: "The answer to the question of what are the economic and environmental effects of biofuels is that 'it always depends' on a broad set of preexisting conditions, trends and available options, with no one solution being the best for all situations."
Policy makers should continued their commitment to the federal Renewable Fuels Standard because it creates the market stability critical to creating and maintaining American jobs, helping insure U.S. energy security and improving the environment.