(Adds details about land use, comment from industry)
NEW YORK, April 30 The White House has finished
a review of a rule that aims to cut emissions from alternative
motor fuels like ethanol, federal environmental regulators said
The Office of Management and Budget has completed the
review of the Environmental Protection Agency's rule and "we
will determine what further action to take," the EPA said in a
The action occurred on Wednesday, a government Web site
The EPA would not reveal details of the rule and would not
say when it would be made public.
The agency has proposed refinements of the 2007 U.S.
Renewable Fuels Standard which mandated the blending into
gasoline of 36 billion gallons per year of fuels like ethanol
from corn, biodiesel and second-generation biofuels like
cellulosic ethanol by 2022.
The proposed rule, known as RFS2, aims to cut emissions
from renewable fuels by ranking biofuels by the amount of
pollution they emit over their lifetime -- from being produced
on land to being burned in engines.
The agency has considered whether emissions should be
counted from "indirect" changes in land use, such as carbon
dioxide released when rain forests are cleared to make
biofuels. Environmentalists and many scientists say that is a
problem in Brazil, the world's second largest producer of
biofuel and an exporter of the fuel to the United States.
Last week the California Air Resource Board adopted its own
low-carbon fuels standard, the world's first-ever regulations
aimed at slashing emissions of planet-warming carbon dioxide
from vehicle fuels.
That rule gave biofuels like first-generation ethanol low
marks for indirect land use, but it gave some time for the
industry to shift to greater production of next-generation
fuels, which were expected to be cleaner over their
Paul Winters, a spokesman for the Biotechnology Industry
Organization, said his group expected the EPA rule would show
that advanced biofuels and traditional biofuels made with
modern processes including biotechnology will meet standards.
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Christian Wiessner)