Environmental Safeguards Under Attack

Just-Filed Bill Would Devastate Landscape, Hurt Wildlife
WASHINGTON (February 8, 2008) -- In a move that could prove disastrous for America’s forests, open lands and wildlife, Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.) introduced a bill late Wednesday to strip environmental safeguards from the recently signed Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, according to scientists and policy experts from leading environmental and conservation organizations.
The organizations committed to fighting the attack on clean biofuels joined together with this statement:
“The Herseth bill would convert an important step forward on the environment into a giant leap backward. When accompanied by strong safeguards, renewable biofuels can help fuel America, curtail global warming, and reduce America’s dependence on oil.
“But the Herseth bill would strip critical environmental protections from the Energy Bill and turn biofuels done right into biofuels done dirty.
“The current law’s Renewable Fuels Standard marked an historic step forward for the development of clean, homegrown energy. It brought together environmental groups, agriculture producers and energy interests behind a set of provisions that support next-generation biofuels while incorporating a suite of crucial safeguards that help keep biofuels clean. The law includes the first ever Congressionally legislated global warming pollution standards.    
“Now, less than two months later, a few voices are trying to turn Congress’ environmental victory on its head by stripping critical safeguards that keep biofuels from resulting in widespread environmental damage.   
“Current law ensures fuel crops grown to meet the Energy Bill’s 36 billion gallon mandate do more good than harm. The Herseth bill would turn the mandate for more biofuels into a massive blow to our Nation’s natural resources, pushing production into sensitive wildlife, old-growth forests, remote wildlands, and other prized areas, and potentially encouraging the wholesale loss of native forests and grasslands.  
“Americans want biofuels, but we’re not about to forsake the American landscape we treasure. Current law already provides incentives for plentiful biofuels crops, without putting our sensitive lands on the chopping block.”