Petition alleges habitat loss due to ethanol mandate

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Environmental and conservation groups have filed a petition with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) alleging it has ‘illegally’ allowed millions of acres of wildlife habitat to be converted into corn and soybean crops since the implementation of biofuel mandates in the US in 2007. The petition follows a report EPA itself submitted to Congress, revealing vast habitat loss since 2007.

The petition comes after the release of a new international report that urges nations to act with urgency to curb climate change. It also aims to ensure that current U.S. biofuels policy supports and not hinders the adoption of clean, sustainable fuels. All* who were involved in writing the petition feel that these fuels are essential to help confront climate change. Among the signatories of the petition are the Sierra Club and the National Wildlife Federation.

The organisations involved with the petition said “Today’s action serves one purpose: demand that EPA follow the law. While Congress expanded the Renewable Fuel Standard, Congress was clear that biomass for fuel could not be grown on native, undisturbed grassland. Congress recognised that conversion of native land to cropland releases stored carbon into the atmosphere, increases water pollution and eliminates wildlife habitat.”

They added that “Now more than ever, EPA needs to act with purpose and urgency to confront the climate crisis. We have solutions. It is time for EPA to use them.”


* Earthjustice, with Clean Air Task Force as co-counsel, on behalf of the National Wildlife Federation, ActionAid USA, American Bird Conservancy, Association of Northwest Steelheaders, Conservation Northwest, Hoosier Environmental Council, Illinois Stewardship Alliance, Mighty Earth, Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Wild Idea Buffalo.