Support The Growing Renewable Energy Act

March 13, 2018

The 2007 Renewable Fuel Standard is a federal program that mandates billions of gallons of plant-based biofuels be blended into the nation's fuel supply. This well-intentioned program was sold to the American people as an environmental relief that would bring cleaner air and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, the increased demand for biofuels came with a high ecological price tag.

In just a five-year period (2008-12), over 7 million acres of grassland and other habitats were converted into cropland, almost half of which was in the Prairie Potholes region of the northern Great Plains.

Although this may be far from Delaware, our hunters, birders and wildlife enthusiasts are inevitably impacted by this massive loss of habitat because it is the breeding ground for 75 percent of the nation's waterfowl. Fewer breeding ducks there translates to fewer migrating and wintering ducks here in our famous bayshore.

Pernicious habitat loss is also happening within our state. From 2007-13 our row crop acreage increased by an area larger than Wilmington and Dover combined. Increased crop production has several negative consequences including more agricultural runoff polluting our waters with fertilizers, herbicides and oxygen-draining algae. It's time for Congress to admit its mistake and fix this broken policy before more wildlife habitat goes under the plow. I urge Delaware's members of Congress to support The Growing Renewable Energy through Existing and New Environmentally Responsible Fuels Act (S.2519, H.R. 5212, known as the GREENER Fuels Act).

Ian Stewart
ornithologist, Delaware Nature Society

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