If ethanol is the wonder fuel that proponents insist it is, then why is the Environmental Protection Agency shrugging off submitting reports, required by law, on its environmental consequences?

The question is raised by the EPA’s inspector general’s office, which reports that the agency hasn’t been keeping up with the requisite reviews. The department completed only one of the “impact” reports in 2011; no report was issued on whether air quality is “backsliding” as a result of blending ethanol and other biofuels with gasoline under the nation’s Renewable Fuel Standard, The Hill newspaper reports.

Failing to provide this documentation “impedes the EPA’s ability to identify, consider, mitigate and make policymakers aware of any adverse impacts of renewable fuels,” according to the IG report.

In response, the EPA says it will complete a review by 2017. But it won’t be until 2024 — at the earliest — before an air quality report and recommendations are completed.

This, when businesses and environmental groups increasingly insist that corn ethanol’s production creates more environmental harm than any benefits. Even the government’s Renewable Fuel Standard, which sustains ethanol, has come into question, given the nation’s abundant supply of shale oil and gas.

Simply pumping out more ethanol amid legitimate concerns is foolish. Yet the EPA perpetuates this nonsense by dragging its feet on the requisite reports.


(c)2016 The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.)

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