The National Corn Growers Association welcomed a decision by California regulators which will begin to reflect ethanol's significantly superior emissions profile compared to gasoline. However, NCGA remained critical of the timing and the process which allowed immature science to penalize this critically needed fuel.
"There are inherent risks in using a computer model to guide regulation or establish policy and this dramatic revision makes that very clear," said NCGA President Bart Schott, a corn grower from Kulm, N.D. Ethanol's reputation has been harmed by the California Air Resources Board's (CARB) highly publicized effort to implement its low carbon fuel standard, but this is a step in the right direction."
New rules for transportation fuel emissions are scheduled to come into effect in less than two months, but it could be spring 2011 before the announced changes are put into practical application. Schott noted NCGA's ongoing concerns that a wide variety of critical industries as well as consumers across the U.S. will feel the effects of the miscalculation by CARB.
"There are valid concerns regarding this process because many states have been awaiting CARB action to set the standard and act as a flawed model for implementation in other states. We obviously have more work to do to get this right. We are encouraging CARB to move as quickly as possible to incorporate this new information to minimize disruption in the market," Schott said.
CARB's decision to lower ethanol's indirect land use penalty was prompted by new information resulting from research conducted by Purdue University. The updated model found that greenhouse gas emissions from corn ethanol, related to land use changes, are less than half what was previously assumed by the California Air Resources Board. Indirect land use theory attempts to allocate changes in greenhouse gas emissions related to shifts in crop acreage related to ethanol demand and its effects on land use overseas.