EPA: ethanol harms air quality but we're mandating it anyway

“It’s hard to believe, but the Obama administration’s energy policies just keep getting further and further removed from reality.  …

[On Wednesday] EPA issued a ruling which claimed corn-based ethanol can provide significant reductions in carbon dioxide when compared with conventional gasoline or diesel fuel. That finding, would be controversial on its own, particularly given the many studies that have been done that show exactly the opposite. But here’s the real whopper: the EPA’s own data shows that using more ethanol-blended gasoline will make air quality worse. For people who have been following this issue, that finding is not surprising. The agency has already admitted that ethanol is bad for air quality.

But on Wednesday, the agency published a statement which said that ethanol-blended gasoline will degrade air quality enough to “lead up to 245 cases of adult premature mortality.”

[The statement] says that emissions of “hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides (NOx), acetaldehyde and ethanol” are expected to increase … [and] that the emission changes are “projected to lead to increases in population-weighted annual average ambient PM [particulate matter] and ozone concentrations.”

Think about that for a moment. The EPA has just passed a rule on renewable fuels which plainly says that it will make air quality worse.

Thus, the EPA is now enforcing rules on renewable fuels that run directly counter to its stated goals. The agency has declared that “Reducing emissions of NOx is a crucial component of EPA’s strategy for cleaner air.” And the agency’s web site makes it clear why it wants to reduce NOx emissions: NOx can cause ground-level ozone, acid rain, increases in particulate matter, cause water pollution, unleash toxic chemicals, reduce visibility, and cause climate change. The agency also explains in very clear terms that VOCs lead to the creation of ground-level ozone, one of the most dangerous urban pollutants. Ozone is created when NOx and VOCs are mixed in the presence of sunlight.”  “Corn and Coal: The Cornerstones of Obama’s Energy Policies

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