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Nebraska Corn Board welcomes EPA's action on ethanol


The Nebraska Corn Board said, May 5, that it appreciates the Environmental Protection Agency's acknowledgment that corn-based ethanol does indeed have a positive impact on greenhouse gas emissions compared to regular gasoline.

Specifically, in its proposed rulemaking for the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, EPA noted that corn-based ethanol provides a 61 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions when compared to gasoline.

As required by EISA, EPA also included a calculation for "indirect land use" in its life-cycle calculations of corn-based ethanol. Including EPA's estimate for indirect land use changes, corn ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 16 percent compared to gasoline, but that further reductions were possible. EISA requires that future ethanol production must meet a reduction of 20 percent--existing operations are grandfathered in.

EPA also said it was going to ask that indirect land use change calculations be peer-reviewed and that such calculations, as they currently exist, will be open to scrutiny.

"This proposal is important on many levels because it helps clarify the environmental benefits of corn ethanol, while at the same time noting that there is room for changes. We are especially encouraged by the idea that EPA acknowledged that land use changes are in question and should be examined more closely. Using questionable science, computer models or best guesses is not good policy," said Kelly Brunkhorst, ag program manager for the Nebraska Corn Board.

Also today, EPA and the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Energy announced the formation of a Biofuels Interagency Working Group, upon direction of President Barack Obama.

The working group has several important tasks ahead of it but, most importantly, solidifying the importance of biofuels like ethanol to the United States' energy future. "The working group will help ensure that the advancement of ethanol and biofuels continues, which will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and help meet our environmental goals," Brunkhorst said.

The Nebraska Corn Board is a self-help program, funded and managed by Nebraska corn farmers. Producers invest in the program at a rate of 1/4 of a cent per bushel of corn sold. Nebraska corn checkoff funds are invested in programs of market development, research and education.

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