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The Unintended Environmental Impacts of the Current Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)

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Publication Date: January 2008

Publisher(s): Environmental Working Group

Author(s): Michelle R. Perez

Topic: Agriculture, forestry and fishing (Agricultural economics and farm holdings)
Energy (Fuels)

Keywords: biofuels; renewable fuels

Type: Report


Biofuels can provide a significant source of renewable energy to reduce dependency on foreign oil and reduce climate change pollution. As Congress considers increasing the current RFS, we have an opportunity to promote biofuels while reducing unintended negative effects on the environment, natural resources and public health. Unfortunately, the ethanol industry is ramping up production dramatically before even rudimentary questions about the environmental impacts have been answered. Reliance on corn grain as a feedstock - which accounts for 98% of current ethanol production - is already having adverse effects on food and feed prices, and is already posing local and regional environmental problems.