Governors ask EPA to clarify biogenic CO2 not regulated under CCA

By Erin Voegele

Governors representing Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Nebraska and North Dakota recently sent a letter to U.S. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler urging the agency to clarify biogenic CO2 is not a pollutant subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act.

“We respectively request that you prioritize regulatory reform clarifying that biogenic CO2 emissions from processing and use of agricultural feedstocks (such as corn, soybeans, oilseeds and farm residues) are not pollutants subject to regulation under the federal Clean Air Act,” the governors wrote. “Removal of this regulatory barrier is key to unlocking investment in the 21st century bioeconomy in rural areas across America…The agricultural sector in our states is posed to invest billions of dollars to develop the potential of the bioeconomy, if only EPA would remove the threat of unwarranted regulatory burdens.”

The letter cites the EPA’s 2009 Endangerment Finding in which the agency announced that greenhouse gases (GHG) threaten the public health and welfare of the American people. Following that finding, the governors said the “EPA asserted that it would claim regulatory jurisdiction over CO2 emissions from agricultural crops, which triggered permitting requirements and litigation risk that has added years to project development, rendered many promising bioeconomy projects unviable, and similar to the troublesome WOTUS rule allowed EPA to claim jurisdiction over ‘sustainable’ farming practices on the farm field—an alarming expansion of federal intrusion into traditional state sovereignty.”

The letter notes that “EPA’s regulation of biogenic CO2 was never supported by a proper science-based review prior to EPA announcing this expansive regulation, and EPA flatly ignored comments from the [USDA] which cautioned that biogenic CO2 was carbon neutral and could not properly be regulated as a matter of sound science.”

The governors ask Wheeler to make resolving the “biogenic CO2 controversy” a top priority. “A resolution that would provide potential developers of the bioeconomy a stable regulatory framework for years to come would provide an environmentally appropriate boost to America’s economy,” they wrote.

The letter is signed by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.

A full copy of the letter can be downloaded from Reynolds’ website.

This article appeared on the Ethanol Producer Magazine website at http://ethanolproducer.com/articles/16457/governors-ask-epa-to-clarify-biogenic-co2-not-regulated-under-cca