From the Farm: EPA and Ethanol


CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Ethanol is lower in price and in carbon than gasoline, but is having a difficult time overcoming policies of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The recent EPA decision on biofuels had some positives, but federal lobbyist David Crowe, who works for Illinois Corn Growers, says there were also some negatives.

“They’ve back-pedaled bigtime, and a lot of it is the whole acceleration of electric vehicles. But what they are assuming is: the whole country can and wants to go electric overnight. There’s none of the infrastructure for that,” Crowe said. “There’s not enough chips, there’s not enough batteries, and I would argue that the ethanol industry and the automobile industry has done a tremendous amount of work on reducing pollution, on reducing carbon exposure. We’re way better than the average American realizes in terms of our environmental record.”

And Crowe says farmers should be aware of other facets of agriculture production where EPA wants to be involved.

“They should keep a close eye on these attacks on individual pesticides. They should be very mindful of the fact that EPA wants to regulate 94% of the nation’s water even most of it is controlled by the states. And it overrides all of the state laws,” Crowe said. “And they should look at these carbon credits and look at the amount of money being thrown at carbon capture and see if we can get some of that money for ourselves, because I think there will be plenty of money for that.”

Will EPA get involved in some of the offers that companies give to farmers about sequestering carbon in a cornfield?

“I’m guessing they will because the regulations on this and the science on this is still not that exact. And so EPA is going to be the referee or judge, if you will, and they are going to play a big role,” Crowe said. “And if history is any indicator, they won’t necessarily be friendly to us without a lot of intervention.”

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