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Biogenic CO2 Coalition urges EPA to recognise crops as “de minimis”

A coalition of major US agricultural groups has launched a grassroots campaign to urge the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to remove its "regulatory roadblock" to development of the emerging bioeconomy.

The Biogenic CO2 Coalition is a working group of leading US trade associations and companies including American Bakers Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, Corn Refiners Association, Enginuity Worldwide, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council of America, National Cottonseed Products Association, National Oilseed Processors Association and North American Millers’ Association.

The coalition supports US farmers and the national “bioeconomy” that a new USDA economic analysis estimates to be US$393 billion, provides 4.2 million jobs in the US, and is the leading source of domestic renewable energy. The Coalition recently sent letters to 2016 Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, urging them to support American farmers and processors by announcing their support of the bioeconomy and recognition that agriculture offers key solutions to energy and environmental policy challenges.

Under its recent Clean Power Plan and other policies, EPA has been treating farm products as sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution. EPA should recognise that farm feedstocks are not the same as fossil fuels or petrochemicals. When farmers grow crops, they store carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, and when agricultural feedstocks are used for food, fuel and fibre, CO2 simply returns to the atmosphere in a natural biogenic cycle.

– The Biogenic CO2 Coalition has shared its concerns with EPA and offered our resources to assist with its deliberations, but now is the time to increase public awareness by formally launching our initiative. We would like EPA to recognise, even on an interim basis while it continues to deliberate, the life-cycle benefits from crop-based feedstocks compared to fossil fuels and petrochemicals, stated John Bode, Chairman of the Biogenic CO2 Coalition and President & CEO of the Corn Refiners Association.

It is the Coalition’s position that:

  • Biogenic CO2 emissions from the use or processing of agricultural crops should be recognised as de minimis (or zero) under the Clean Air Act
  • EPA should retract its attempt to regulate “sustainable” farming practices as a condition to feedstock eligibility under its Clean Power Plan (CPP) rulemaking
  • Congress should stop EPA from placing costly and unnecessary regulatory burdens on farmers and processors, effectively blocking American agriculture and bioeconomy markets

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