A coalition of environmental groups petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency about changing how the agency accounts for land-use changes under the Renewable Fuels Standard. The petition asks the EPA to amend its regulations regarding what land can be used to produce biomass under the Energy Independence and Security Act’s RFS. Agriculture groups are challenging the petition, saying that statistics from the USDA, the EPA itself, and other agencies prove that land use in crop production is shrinking. Lynn Chrisp (Crisp), National Corn Growers Association President, says overall land use in growing principal crops is shrinking nationwide. “The reality of what’s happening on today’s farms is not accurately portrayed in the petition.” Farmers planted fewer acres to corn in 2018 (89.1) million than they did when the RFS was expanded in 2007 (93.5 million). Overall, the area planted to principal crops in the U.S. has dropped from 328.6 million acres in 2000 to 322 million acres this year, according to data from the USDA.
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