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Farm group calls EPA a 'barrier' for emissions reduction in biofuels

Farm group calls EPA a 'barrier' for emissions reduction in biofuels
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The head of a major farm group on Wednesday blasted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a “barrier” for reducing greenhouse gases in biofuels.

“The EPA has been the primary barrier to a lot of additional success that we can have in the reduction of greenhouse gases in ethanol technology,” said Rob Larew, president of the National Farmers Union, during a Senate hearing. 

“The story for grain-based ethanol in general, the EPA continues to be a barrier not only for the waivers that they’ve issued but also for barriers against higher blends,” he added. 

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Larew’s comments come days after it was reported that the EPA has received 52 new requests from oil refiners asking for retroactive exemptions to requirements that they blend biofuels into their products. 

A court in January overturned three agency-issued waivers, and the EPA did not appeal the decision. 

Politically, the issue is complex, as the administration struggles to maneuver between the conflicting interests of farmers and the oil industry, both of which are key parts of President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump MORE’s base.

The comments came during a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on a new bipartisan bill that aims to help farmers get carbon credits in exchange for sustainable farming practices.

The legislation, titled the Growing Climate Solutions Act, would create a program at the Department of Agriculture to connect farmers with experts to help them navigate the process of getting valuable credits in exchange for capturing and storing carbon.