EWG is working toward an energy future in which clean, safe and economical sources such as solar and wind power replace dirty, dangerous and expensive coal and nuclear power. We're also investigating the use and disposal of hazardous chemicals in oil and gas drilling, toxic gasoline additives such as corn ethanol and MTBE, uranium mining on public lands, and the transport of nuclear waste through American cities.
The EPA has failed to determine whether the Renewable Fuel Standard, a so-called environmental policy that’s costing American taxpayers $1 billion to $2 billion a year, has a net benefit on the environment or public health. That’s the finding of a searing report released yesterday by the EPA’s own Inspector General.Read More
The recent Porter Ranch methane spill in Los Angeles County spewed about 66 tons of methane into the air every hour for four months. After the leak was finally sealed in February, scientists estimated it had discharged a total of 106,000 tons of methane into the air, making it the worst such leak in U.S. history.
Production of corn ethanol has led growers to plow up of millions of acres of prairie grassland and wetlands to plant more corn. By the Environmental Protection Agency’s own definition, this means that corn ethanol is not a renewable fuel.
The corn ethanol mandate requires refiners to blend more and more ethanol into gasoline. But there is already a “natural” marketplace demand for ethanol. If there were no mandate, gasoline refiners would still blend corn ethanol to boost octane and as an oxygenate to lower tailpipe pollutants.
Volkswagen could be fined up to $90 billion for violating the federal Clean Air Act by jerry-rigging diesel engines to burn cleaner on emissions tests. The added air pollution will cause up to 60 premature deaths of Americans a year. But there's a deadlier source of dirty air than VW diesels – one that's actually touted as reducing air pollution: corn ethanol.
Some corn ethanol lobbyists are pushing to triple the amount of ethanol American fuel makers put into gasoline, moving from the current blend, called E10, or 90 percent gasoline and 10 percent corn ethanol to E30, which would be 70 percent gasoline and 30 percent corn ethanol. They argue that using more of their so-called renewable fuel would benefit the environment.
The EWG staff voted the landmark global climate accord approved on December 12 in Paris as the top environmental story of 2015. In our judgment, the achievement of the Paris pact is that, for the first time, representatives of 196 nations – large and small, rich and poor, heavily industrial and rural – agreed in principle that they must reduce carbon emissions and that they will report on their progress every five years.Read More
As in past years, EWG asked its staff of scientists, policy analysts and governmental and communications specialists to vote on what they considered the 10 most important stories of 2015 in two categories: stories that relate specifically to agriculture and those that involve general environmental issues. The rest of the agriculture list is below. To see the staff’s ranking of general environmental stories, got to EWG’s Enviroblog.
You may have seen the headlines yesterday claiming bacon is better for the environment than lettuce. Bacon cheeseburger lovers may have cheered the news, but a closer look shows the claim has more sizzle than substance. The study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University said if Americans followed federal dietary guidelines to eat more fruits and vegetables, farm energy use would go up 38 percent and the carbon emissions that cause global warming would rise by 6 percent.
The Obama Administration’s unprecedented decision today, lowering the amount of corn ethanol that refiners must add to gasoline, misses an opportunity to go even further and pave the way for second-generation biofuels, EWG said today.Read More
Corn ethanol, once thought of as a way for the U.S. to cut carbon pollution, is conspicuously absent from the emissions reduction plan the White House submitted ahead of the global climate conference in Paris. The plan would reduce U.S. carbon emissions by 28 percent from 2005 levels, but it didn’t even mention corn ethanol, or the federal mandate known as the Renewable Fuel Standard.Read More
A study released today by the Renewable Fuels Association makes the bogus claim that the use of corn ethanol as a vehicle fuel reduced emissions by 240 million tons of carbon dioxide since 2008.
The corn ethanol industry’s attacks on Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) over his efforts to reform federal biofuels policies are “completely outrageous and smack of desperation,” says Scott Faber, EWG’s senior vice president of government affairs, in a statement released today.Read More
Dirty corn ethanol was supposed to be a bridge to greener fuels, but 10 years after it was mandated, it’s looking like a bridge to nowhere.
Biofuels produced from switchgrass and post-harvest corn waste could significantly reduce the emissions that contribute to climate change, according to an analysis by EWG and University of California biofuels experts.Read More
The federal Renewable Fuel Standard is supposed to promote fuels that emit less global warming pollution than gasoline. But it’s done just the opposite, stimulating a boom in ethanol made from corn, which over its life cycle causes emissions of more climate-wrecking carbon than gasoline. Yet the Renewable Fuel Standard continues to encourage production of ethanol – and now the EPA’s internal watchdog wants to know why.Read More