New fuel standards could help river

Perennial grasses for biofuels

Perennial plants can be grown to produce fuel while also protecting water quality and boosting farm profits.

Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized updates to the nation’s renewable fuel production requirements.

Congress created the renewable fuel standard program in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and expand the nation’s renewable fuels sector while reducing reliance on imported oil.

The new standards set cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel production goals for 2017 and biomass-based diesel goals for 2018.

While we’re disappointed to see an increase in traditional corn-based ethanol (which poses a variety of environmental risks), FMR is pleased to note that the new standard boosts production goals for cellulosic biofuel.

This biofuel, which can be produced using perennial crops that also benefit water quality, soil health and habitat, will grow by 35 percent over the 2016 standard, to 311 million gallons. This standard creates a powerful market incentive for the establishment of perennial cropping systems that help protect our water while boosting farmer’s bottom lines.

Learn more about FMR’s related work on the Working Lands Watershed Restoration Program