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Corn Growers Call For Recognition of Importance of Corn Ethanol in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) urged policymakers in our nation's capital to acknowledge the benefits of corn ethanol in helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As the debate surrounding the future of biofuels continues, it is imperative that policymakers recognize the important role of corn ethanol as demonstrated through numerous studies.

"There are numerous scientific studies which factually support that corn ethanol results in a net reduction of greenhouse gas emissions," said Steve Ruh, chairman of NCGA's Ethanol Committee and a grower from Sugar Grove, Ill. "Opponents of corn ethanol should be clear about their motives and should recognize the mounting scientific evidence that supports the sustainability and environmental benefits of corn ethanol."

Ruh pointed out that, back in 2005, Argonne National Laboratories reported¹ that 13 out of 17 studies on greenhouse gas emissions reported that corn ethanol provides a significant reduction compared to conventional gasoline. More recent reports continue this trend, Ruh noted, specifically:

Researchers at the University of Nebraska² analyzed the life cycles of corn-ethanol systems accounting for the majority of U.S. capacity to estimate greenhouse gas emissions and energy efficiencies on the basis of updated values for crop management and yields, biorefinery operation, and coproduct utilization. Direct-effect greenhouse gas emissions were estimated to be equivalent to a 48 to 59 percent reduction compared to gasoline, a twofold to threefold greater reduction than reported in previous studies.

A report prepared for the International Energy Agency³ details the dramatic improvement in greenhouse gas emission benefits offered by corn ethanol and predicts greenhouse gas reductions of nearly 60 percent from corn based ethanol compared to gasoline by 2015. The report found 2005-era corn ethanol offered a 39 percent greenhouse gas reduction relative to gasoline.

Just this week in a publication of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized the positive greenhouse gas emission net reduction benefit of corn ethanol. The NOPR on the RFS concludes that grain-based ethanol reduces direct greenhouse gas emissions by more than 60 percent compared to gasoline.

"We will continue to collaborate with the EPA on this issue and we look forward to working closely with the newly formed Biofuels Interagency Working Group," Ruh said. "NCGA is pleased EPA has acknowledged what the corn and ethanol industry has known for some time, that corn ethanol is the most environmentally friendly fuel available today."

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