Biogenic CO2 coalition launches grassroots campaign

By Erin Voegele | October 10, 2016

The Biogenic CO2 Coalition has launched a grassroots campaign to urge the U.S. EPA to remove its regulatory roadblock to the development of the emerging bioeconomy.

According to the coalition, the EPA has been treating farm products as sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution under the Clean Power Plan and other policies. The coalition urges the agency to recognize that farm feedsocks are not the same as fossil fuels or petrochemicals. When farmers grow crops, they store CO2 from the atmosphere, said the coalition. When those feedstocks are used for food, fuel and fiber, the CO2 simply returns to the atmosphere in a natural biogenic cycle.

“The Biogenic CO2 Coalition has shared its concerns with EPA and offered our resources to assist with its deliberations, but now is the time to increase public awareness by formally launching our initiative,” said John Bode, chairman of the Biogenic CO2 Coalition and president & CEO of the Corn Refiners Association.  “We would like EPA to recognize, even on an interim basis while it continues to deliberate, the life-cycle benefits from crop-based feedstocks compared to fossil fuels and petrochemicals.”

According to the coalition, biogenic emissions from the use or processing of agricultural crops should be recognized as de minimis, or zero, under the Clean Air Act. The coalition also thinks the EPA should retract its attempt to regulate sustainable farming practices as a condition to feedstock eligibility under the CPP rulemaking. In addition, the coalition argues congress should stop the EPA from placing costly and unnecessary regulatory burdens on farmers and processors, which effectively block American agriculture and bioeconomy markets.

The coalition is a working group of trade associations and companies that support American farmers and the national bioeconomy. Members include the American Bakers Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, Corn Refiners Association, Enginuity Worldwide, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council of America, National Cottonseed Products Association, National Oilseed Processors Association, and the North American Millers Association.

The coalition recently sent letters to 2016 presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, urging them to support American farmers and processors by announcing their support of the bioeconomy and recognition that agriculture offers key solutions to energy and environmental policy challenges.

Within the letters, the coalition notes American farmers and companies are poised to invest billions in clean technology, rural development and infrastructure as part of the bioeconomy. In 2013, the bioeconomy was valued at $369 billion and provided 4 million jobs. According to the coalition, it was also the leading source of domestic renewable energy.

Copies of the letters can be downloaded from the coalition website