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BURNED Deception, Deforestation and America’s Biodiesel Policy

January 2, 2018
By Rose Garr, Sheila Karpf

Biofuels production to satisfy the renewable fuels mandate in contained in a 2007 energy law has had harmful unintended consequences, harming wildlife and the environment.

The Renewable Fuel mandate contained in the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act has not furthered energy independence in the United States but it has produced a host of unintended, harmful environmental harms. Myriad peer-reviewed scientific studies show food-based biofuels’ climate and environmental impact is as bad or often much worse than the fossil fuels they were intended meant to replace.

This study demonstrates biofuels production is driving the destruction of wildlife habitat around the world, has contributed to the largest-ever dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, has resulted in an increased use of pesticides and fertilizers -- endangering drinking water supplies --, and has been used to justify driving indigenous and local communities from their land in developing countries. And all this while, contrary to its proponents claims, increasing the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. In the words of one of the law’s primary sponsors, former Rep. Henry Waxman (D- CA), “It’s time to admit that the [renewable fuel mandate] has fallen far short of its goals.”