EPA to Study Ethanol Impact on Air Quality

The Environmental Protection Agency will conduct a long-delayed study to assess the impact ethanol-blended fuels have on air quality. Reuters reports the EPA agreed to conduct the study late last week, as the Sierra Club had filed a lawsuit against the EPA last year in an effort to compel the agency to conduct the study. The organization states the study was supposed to be done roughly eight years ago.

The Sierra Club and the EPA reached a partial agreement resulting in the EPA conducting the so-called anti-backsliding study by March of next year. The outcome of the study seems certain to influence future Renewable Fuel Standard regulations set by the EPA, including annual targets for ethanol and biodiesel use in the nations fuel supply.

The Sierra Club is a well-known critic of the RFS. An association fact sheet claims that since the standard’s adoption in 2007, “It has become clear that the RFS has had unintended and devastating consequences for wildlife and wildlife habitat, and may even be undermining its own stated goals.”