Jason Barton

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Archive for the ‘US EPA’ tag

EPA Proposes Increased Bureaucracy

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Is this proposed legislation going to improve working conditions or environmental impact at sugarcane and ethanol production facilities, or is it just more paperwork? I’ve written extensively on this site and in my doctoral dissertation about these issues, as well double fuel pumpsas related policies, but it’s not clear the intent of the proposed legislation. Whatever it is, demand for imported ethanol has taken various swings over the last few years, not due to natural factors, but due to the EPA’s decisions.

When the US EPA allowed Brazilian sugarcane ethanol to meet the “advanced biofuels” requirement in 2010, it certified, according to their analysis, that cane ethanol reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 50% (61%) over traditional, petroleum gasoline. This comes after much debate regarding the actual GHG emissions from sugarcane, corn, and cellulosic ethanol.

When the EPA made their decision on this debate, it significantly increased demand for Brazilian cane ethanol as US refiners worked to meet the advanced biofuel mandate. The EPA, however, lowered the volume on this mandate due to lagging development of domestic, cellulosic ethanol that would also satisfy the advanced mandate.

Now, according to the article below, that increased demand could be dampened, and the number of producers reduced to only the largest players, as meeting the new reporting requirements increases transactions costs. Policy fluctuations like these have made it very difficult for investors in Brazil since the prices they earn for their product are not subject to natural factors of supply and demand, but due to the whims of bureaucrats in Washington.





By Cezary Podkul

NEW YORK, July 12 | Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:13pm BST


(Reuters) – Importing cheap Brazilian ethanol into the United States could become much less profitable next year if a proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency to expand tough documentation and transportation rules to non-U.S. producers takes effect.

The proposal, made on June 14, could seriously disrupt a signature Latin American energy trade, triggering auditing, documentation and transportation requirements, including physically separating U.S. ethanol imports from each other until those requirements are met.

Read the entire article here.



Questions About Biofuels’ Environmental Costs Could Alter Europe’s Policies

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Interesting. This is almost the exact opposite direction taken by the U.S. EPA in their Renewable Fuels Standards 2 program, issued earlier in February. The pressure is on to develop second generation biofuels from cellulosic feedstocks so that they are ready for industry scale as soon as possible. Those biofuels are not based on food feedstocks and can be grown on marginal lands, so they will not be supplanting food crops. Another important, and seemingly simple set of measures would be to reduce our demand for food simply by decreasing food waste. As Woody Guthrie sang many years ago, “Every year we waste enough to feed the ones who starve.”
Published: February 11, 2010

BRUSSELS — A top European farm official has suggested that yet-to-be-released studies by the European Commission could be used to “kill” heavily promoted and subsidized biofuels by focusing on their total environmental impact.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

February 15th, 2010 at 3:17 pm