TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA — The Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) said on Nov. 25 that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to reduce its 2014 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) would have severe economic and environmental consequences.

“This is the first time the U.S. government has bowed to petroleum industry pressure and cut renewable fuel targets, setting a dangerous precedent for the global biofuels industry,” said Bliss Baker, spokesperson for the GRFA.

For 2014, the EPA proposes cutting the renewable fuel RVO from 16.55 billion gallons to 15.21 billion gallons, cut the advanced biofuel RVO from 2.75 billion gallons to 2.2 billion gallons, hold biomass-based diesel at 1.28 billion gallons and set the cellulosic biofuel category at 17 million gallons.

“The EPA proposal cuts the demand for domestic fuel produced by America’s renewable fuel industry, which will increase the cost of gas at the pumps,” said Baker. “You cannot remove over 1.3 billion gallons of fuel from a fuel pool without it having an impact on fuel prices.”

The U.S. has been a leader in the global biofuels industry and the latest EPA proposal will tarnish this leadership role, putting at risk other jurisdictions who have followed the lead of the United States to introduce biofuels friendly policies, the GRFA said. The EPA proposal jeopardizes the progress biofuels have made in reducing global crude oil dependence, cutting carbon pollution and boosting rural economies.

A GRFA commissioned study showed that in 2010 the global biofuels industry contributed over $277 billion to the global economy while supporting nearly 1.4 million jobs worldwide. By 2020, the global biofuels industry is estimated to grow and support over 2.2 million jobs worldwide.

“This EPA proposal is a terrible precedent for the global biofuels industry. Today over 60 countries around the world have adopted biofuels friendly policies, many of whom have adopted mandates. This EPA proposal will send a very negative message to those countries trying to reduce their reliance on crude oil,” said Baker.

The GRFA forecasted that global biofuels production in 2013 will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 100 million tonnes. This equates to 20 million cars or all the cars in Portugal and The Netherlands being pulled off the road. The EPA proposed claw back in biofuel demand and use would result in an increase in GHG emissions in America.

“Globally, if we cut biofuel demand like the EPA proposes, it would significantly hamper our ability to combat climate change because biofuels are the only commercially available alternative to crude oil,” said Baker. “Moreover, the GRFA finds it somewhat ironic that a proposal from the Federal Government’s Agency entrusted with protecting the environment will result in an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.”