In comments submitted to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Growth Energy discussed the continued innovation of low-carbon biofuels and the importance of appropriately crediting farmers for their efforts to address climate change. These comments are in response to USDA’s proposed Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry Partnership Program (CSAF).
CSAF, announced by USDA Secretary Vilsack in September, is an initiative to partner with agriculture, forestry, and rural communities and to finance the deployment of climate-smart farming and forestry practices to aid in the marketing of climate-smart agricultural commodities. In their comments, Growth Energy asked USDA to credit farmers for instituting carbon-friendly agriculture practices and take them into consideration when rating carbon intensity scores for biofuels, particularly for programs like sustainable aviation fuel and overall efforts to address climate change.
“USDA is best positioned to accurately determine how precision agriculture and improved practices lower carbon intensity scores for farming, and therefore the overall carbon intensity for ethanol,” wrote Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “This will make biofuels like ethanol a more attractive solution towards addressing climate change when advanced farming practices are appropriately recognized.”
The comments also urge USDA to acknowledge actions taken by biofuels producers which decrease carbon emissions, including significant investments in carbon capture and sequestration projects around the country.
In order to fully capture the economic and environmental benefits brought by the CSAF Program, Growth Energy called on USDA to work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to release growth oriented Renewable Volume Obligations for 2021 and 2022, continue investments in higher blend infrastructure programs, and coordinate with the administration to provide year-round access to E15.
“We urge USDA to continue bringing biofuels to the table as our country designs a national strategy to reduce overall carbon emissions. Biofuel production allows our farmers and rural economies to participate in consistent markets as we also work to reduce the environmental impact of the agriculture sector. We are grateful for [USDA’s] consideration of these comments and look forward to working with the department to advance these important initiatives.”