U.S. President Barack Obama's administration issued a draft rule to slash the greenhouse gas emissions of biofuels, but confirmed former President Bush’s commitment to produce corn-based ethanol.
The EPA’s draft rule confirms the schedule set out in the Bush administration’s 2007 Renewable Fuels Standard, which calls for the annual blending of 36 billion gallons of biofuels into gasoline by 2022. The rule will boost the production of advanced biofuels, setting an annual target of 16 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol made from switchgrass and agricultural wastes, while calling for a maximum blending into gasoline of 15 billion gallons of corn and grain-based ethanol annually by 2015.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson acknowledged in a teleconference that "Corn-based ethanol is a bridge to the next generation of biofuels,” and will be supported despite criticism that using corn and grain as ethanol feedstocks contributes to higher food prices and indirectly leads to greenhouse gas emissions by promoting the destruction of forests and other lands for production of these feedstock crops.
President Obama called on the heads of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy and the Department of Agriculture to chair a group to identify policies to develop advanced biofuels and increase the use of "flex fuel" cars capable of running on gasoline or biofuels such as ethanol.
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