Some environmentalists say increased corn ethanol use increases greenhouse gas emissions.
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON – The Obama administration renewed its commitment Tuesday to speed up investments in ethanol and other biofuels while seeking to deflect some environmentalists’ claims that huge increases in corn ethanol use will hinder the fight against global warming.
President Barrack Obama directed more loan guarantees and economic stimulus money for biofuels research and told the Agriculture Department to find ways to preserve biofuel industry jobs. The recession, as well as lower gasoline prices, has caused some ethanol producers to suffer, including some who have filed for bankruptcy.
Obama said an interagency group also would explore ways to get automakers to produce more cars that run on ethanol and to find ways to make available more ethanol fueling stations. “We must invest in a clean energy economy,” Obama said in a statement.
The reassurances to the ethanol industry came as the Environmental Protection Agency made public its initial analysis on what impact the massive expansion of future ethanol use could have on climate change. Rejecting industry and agricultural interests’ arguments, it said its rules – which will take months to develop – will take into account increased greenhouse gas emissions as more people plant ethanol crops at the expense of forests and other vegetation and land use is influenced worldwide by the demand for biofuels.