EPA Rule Would Create Incentives to Spread Invasive Species

Last week the National Environmental Coalition on Invasive Species joined a group of 96 organizations in a letter to the Office of Management and Budget  outlining concerns over a proposed Environmental Protection Agency rule that could provide incentives to spread a harmful invasive species.

The rule would allow a plant called Arundo donax (also known as Giant Reed, Colorado River Reed, and Giant Cane), a known invasive species, to qualify as an “advanced biofuel feedstock” under the Renewable Fuel Standard. This means that producers would get money from the federal government for growing giant reed as a source to create biofuel.

Growing plants for energy can potentially be a cleaner and less harmful alternative to fossil fuels, but only if it is done responsibly. Planting a species that has been listed as one of the world’s 100 worst invasive species is not responsible.  Invasive species cost the United States over $120 billion every year.

Given the clear risks associated with growing giant reed for energy, the last thing we need is to be spending taxpayer-funded money encouraging producers to plant this stuff. There is still time for EPA to hit pause and fix the rule before finalizing it.

To view the letter and find out more information about this proposed rule, read National Wildlife Federation’s blog post here: http://blog.nwf.org/2012/10/an-environmental-disaster-of-unimaginable-proportions/