Harkin Floats Indirect Land Use Amendment


Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) filed an amendment on Tuesday to the annual funding bill for the Interior Department and related agencies that would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from considering indirect land use overseas when implementing provisions of the Clean Air Act for biofuels.

AFBF and other groups sent a joint letter to urge the Senate to support the Harkin amendment.

Farm groups and ethanol makers say the EPA indirect land use formula on cropland converted to ethanol production overseas has little or no connection between U.S. production of crops for biofuels.

The one-year delay would prohibit EPA from using international indirect land changes to the renewable fuel standard the agency proposed on May 26.

Meanwhile, a study commissioned by the National Corn Growers Association finds that the up-front cost to the ethanol industry for compliance with the expanded Renewable Fuel Standard could reach $30 million, with annually recurring compliance costs reaching up to $420 million.

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