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Ag Leaders Commend Support Addressing Biogenic CO2 Barrier
Nebraska Ag Connection - 10/14/2020

The Biogenic CO2 Coalition, a working group of leading trade associations that support American agriculture, Tuesday commended more than a dozen U.S. Senators who are urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take prompt, science-based action to keep the United States from falling behind its competitors in the international bioeconomy.

In a letter sent last week to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, more than a dozen senators, led by Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Deb Fischer (R-NE), called on the EPA to promulgate a rulemaking that recognizes the de minimis character of biogenic carbon emissions from agricultural feedstocks used to make food, fuel, beverages, or bioproducts. The Biogenic CO2 Coalition recently filed a petition for rulemaking with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), providing a detailed explanation of the scientific and legal basis for a de minimis standard for biogenic CO2 from agricultural crops. Further, the Coalition recently published an economic impact analysis demonstrating the significant economic benefits of this proposed reform.

Joining Senators Ernst and Fischer in signing on to the letter were: Sen. John Thune (R-SD), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), Sen. Todd Young (R-IN), Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), Sen. Mike Rounds (R-ND), Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO). This call for action is a recognition that this long-overdue regulatory clarity would put the U.S. in line with the same standards applied by every other regulatory authority worldwide in acknowledging that biogenic carbon emissions from agricultural feedstocks are different than carbon from fossil fuels.

"For many American farmers growing agricultural feedstocks, like corn, cotton, and hemp, the fast-growing bioeconomy offers an opportunity to meet growing consumer demand, enter new markets, and diversify their customer base," said Thomas Parks, Biogenic CO2 Coalition spokesperson. "Changing this regulatory burden based on scientifically-backed evidence offers a bright future for rural America, one that will bring more jobs and opportunities to the American heartland, offer American consumers more and better sustainable products, and bring much-needed support to America's farmers and ranchers."

This is not the first instance of Congressional support for the EPA to implement this rulemaking. Reps. Rodney Davis (R-IL), Collin Peterson (D-MN), Dave Loebsack (D-IA) and Roger Marshall (R-KS) recently sent a letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler requesting regulatory clarity for annual farm crops. And last year, a bipartisan group of 18 Senators also pressed the EPA for swift action on this issue in a letter.

A group of five Governors in 2019 also urged the agency for action on the same issue.

The Biogenic CO2 Coalition members are American Farm Bureau Federation, Corn Refiners Association (CRA), Hemp Industries Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council of America, National Cottonseed Products Association, National Farmers Union, National Grain and Feed Association, National Oilseed Processors Association, North American Millers' Association and Plant Based Products Council. It is coordinated by CRA.

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