Biofuel Mandate Launches Investment in Clean Energy Economy

Essential Safeguards Key to Breaking America of Its Addiction to Dirty Fuels
WASHINGTON, DC (December 20, 2007) – The president this week signed into law the first piece of energy legislation to address America’s oil addiction. The law contains the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), a mandate to produce 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2022, including a 16 billion gallon cellulosic biofuels requirement. The RFS invests in homegrown energy, promotes next-generation biofuels, contains the first greenhouse gas reduction standards ever adopted by Congress, and establishes crucial safeguards to protect the environment and public health.

The law keeps biofuels production out of important wildife habitat, protects our native forests from being converted into tree farms, and ensures our public lands are not turned into biofuel factories. An essential aspect of this legislation was to protect against biofuels contributing to increased air pollution, like smog. Fortunately, the RFS is part of the Clean Air Act, which makes sure the Environmental Protection Agency can regulate air quality and make necessary adjustments to protect public health.

NRDC played a critical role in developing the legislative language to preserve the biofuel safeguards included in the energy bill, signed by the president on Wednesday. Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) and Chairman Dingell (D-MI) were instrumental in establishing biofuel standards done the right way, from the start.
Following is a statement by Karen Wayland, legislative director, NRDC:
“Nothing like this has been done before, and shows that we’re finally starting to move the country beyond dirty, polluting energy sources. The RFS ensures renewable fuels aren’t grown by cutting down our forests or plowing under our native prairie lands -- and releasing millions of tons of global warming pollution. We all want to get this right the first time around, and still achieve a balanced approach that meets the needs of the American people.”