Thursday, April 23, 2009

California EPA Gets One Right

Will wonders never cease?!

WorldNetDaily reported Tuesday on a draft report about corn ethanol, scheduled to be released yesterday.

In a decision anticipated as a major setback for proponents of renewable biofuels, California regulators appear ready to conclude that corn ethanol cannot help the state reduce "global warming."

In a hearing scheduled tomorrow in Sacramento, the California Environmental Protection Agency has evidently concluded that corn ethanol will not help the state implement Executive Order S-1-07, the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Jan. 18, 2007, mandating a 10 percent reduction in the carbon intensity of the state's fuels by 2020.

"Ethanol is a good fuel, but how it is produced is problematic," Dimitri Stanich, public information oOfficer for the California Environmental Protection Agency, told WND. "The corn ethanol industry has to figure out another way to process corn into ethanol that is not so coal intensive."

Stanich pointed out that the formula the California Environmental Protection Agency utilizes to assess the net greenhouse gas impact of alternative fuels takes into consideration that typically the electricity used to produce corn ethanol involves burning coal, which emits carbon dioxide and defeats states regulatory intent to reduce net greenhouse emissions.

Also problematic, Stanich explained, was that increased demand for ethanol will encourage recognition worldwide that more ethanol can be sold. The result is that more land globally will be converted to producing corn for ethanol.

"Converting land that is now a 'carbon sink' to farmland producing ethanol also defeats the purpose of the regulations, because land now absorbing carbon dioxide would be cleared to produce corn," he said.

Another problem Stanich pointed out was that the waste product from producing corn ethanol also requires the burning of coal to convert it into animal feed.

The California Environmental Protection Agency formula assesses as a loss the conversion of the carbon dioxide-absorbing land now populated with trees into cleared farmland producing corn for ethanol.

Stanich told WND the California Environmental Protection Agency has scheduled six hours for public testimony, expecting to hear strong opposition from the ethanol industry.

Yes, they did. And the environmentalists are none too happy too. Reuters reported yesterday on that front.

California regulators preparing on Thursday to adopt landmark rules curbing carbon emissions from transport fuels made an eleventh-hour bid to woo critics who call the measures unfair to corn-based ethanol.

If adopted by the Air Resources Board as expected, the low-carbon fuel standard would become the first measure in the nation to impose on motor fuels limits on the amount of greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming.

Similar rules are being considered in 11 other states that are waiting for California to act. President Barack Obama has also called for a nationwide low-carbon fuel standard to help meet his goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions more than 80 percent by mid-century.

Ethanol industry advocates and scientists are among those who have vehemently opposed rules drafted last month by the state's Air Resources Board, saying they put grain-based biofuels at a competitive disadvantage.

In a move to quiet those concerns, the state's top air quality regulator, Mary Nichols, sent a letter on Wednesday to biofuels industry executives insisting that "corn ethanol will play an important role in helping California achieve the goals" of the proposed regulations.

"What we're trying to convey is that we are open, that we are listening and that we are determined to adapt the rule on a real-time basis as we get new and better science," Nichols said in a telephone interview.

I'm sure what Nichols means by "better science" is the kind they can skew to fit the results they want to achieve. We can't have science telling us what we don't want to hear, now, can we?


Tsofah said...


Ethanol would also mean more farmers planting corn and fewer other veggies in order to make ends meet. That would also result in even higher food at the grocery store. Ethanol based fuel would also become MORE expensive than gasoline has ever been due to the amount of corn needed to produce it and refine it.

As far as the truth goes, I wonder if "greenies" skip over Nicholson's line in "A Few Good Men". You are right, they "can't handle the truth".

Charlie said...

This is a good sign, I think. Ethanol is not a great fuel for all the reasons stated, plus the fact that it contains less energy to begin with than an equivalent amount of gasoline. Worse, it drives up food prices because we use corn so widely as a food source and because it competes for land with less profitable but more important food products, such as wheat.

Tsofah said...


Wow, high five! Great Minds DO think alike!


ChuckL said...

Tsofah writes, "As far as the truth goes, I wonder if "greenies" skip over Nicholson's line in "A Few Good Men". You are right, they "can't handle the truth"."

Which again echoes a favorite bumper sticker...

How to anger a conservative: Tell her a lie.

How to anger a liberal: Tell him the truth.

ChuckL said...

"The corn ethanol industry has to figure out another way to process corn into ethanol that is not so coal intensive."

I love [not really] the near-complete lack of sense the green weenies display. Let's see, it's great for the environment if we convert to ethanol [not an uncontested statement], but it is bad for the environment if we actually manufacture it.

The wingnuts haven't figured out that their perpetual motion utopia dreamworld does not exist, has never existed, and will never exist. It takes energy to produce energy; it takes energy to live. Physics 101.

And as Tsofah & Charlie point out, our green weenie frineds tend to flunk Economics 101, too.

Thanks, guys & gals!