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EPA Didn’t Report Renewable Fuel Standard Impacts, Inspector General Says

gas stationAs part of the US Renewable Fuel Standard program, the EPA is required to report to Congress every three years on the affect of the biofuels mandate.

The agency hasn’t made a report since 2011, according to a report from the EPA’s Office of Inspector General.

The Aug. 18 report, titled EPA Has Not Met Certain Statutory Requirements to Identify Environmental Impacts of Renewable Fuel Standard, also said that the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation has not analyzed or addressed any negative air quality impacts of the RFS and that the agency has not made good on its commitment to update a 2010 lifecycle analysis.

The EPA told Reuters that it has “agreed to a set of corrective actions and timelines” to address the report’s conclusions and expects to complete a report on the impact of the biofuel mandate by the end of 2017.

An American Petroleum Institute spokesman told Reuters that the oil and gas trade group is still reviewing the report. The API has asked Congress to repeal the biofuel mandate and has also filed lawsuits challenging the law.

Meanwhile Renewable Fuels Association president Bob Dinneen told Reuters: “We are confident that once EPA conducts these required studies, they will show that biofuels like ethanol are significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, even above the threshold reductions.”

A new study by the University of Michigan, however, finds that while ethanol may be good for the agricultural community that gets to divert crops to supplement gas, it may not be too good for the environment. The study says that crops used to make biofuels only absorb about 37 percent of the carbon that is later released into the atmosphere.

In May, the EPA announced the 2017 proposed Renewable Fuel Standard volume requirements, which would require refineries to blend 18.8 billion gallons of biofuels into the nation’s gasoline supply next year. Of this amount, 14.8 billion gallons would come from conventional corn-based ethanol.

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