Saturday, August 9, 2014

Biofuels, invasive plants, and regulation

Article: Regulations needed to identify potentially invasive biofuel crops
If the hottest new plant grown as a biofuel crop is approved based solely on its greenhouse gas emission profile, its potential as the next invasive species may not be discovered until it’s too late. In response to this need to prevent such invasions, researchers have developed both a set of regulatory definitions and provisions and a list of 49 low-risk biofuel plants from which growers can choose.
Ah, the horror of trying to be green. Reduce CO2 emissions and prevent apocolyptic global warming? Or, tolerate invasive species and damage natural ecosystems?

One basic rule of life is that there is always a trade-off. Another way of putting it is that "there ain't no such thing as a free lunch."
In approving new biofuel products, Quinn said that the EPA doesn't formally consider invasiveness at all -- just greenhouse gas emissions related to their production.
If the EPA doesn't consider invasineness it is because they are not supposed to.
"Last summer, the EPA approved two known invaders, Arundo donax (giant reed) and Pennisetum purpurem (napier grass), despite public criticism," added U of I professor of agricultural law A. Bryan Endres, who co-authored the research to define legislative language for potentially invasive bioenergy feedstocks.
Both species are "invasive" in the sense that they grow aggressively. However, neither of them do much reproduction by seeds; they spread by underground stems. Their low risk of invasive is probably one reason it was approved.

It seems sometimes as if scientific research is just an excuse for more regulations.

No comments:

Post a Comment