New research says RFS is impacting monarch butterfly habitat

March 31, 2019 |

In Washington, D.C., new research prepared by the University of California-Davis, Kansas State University, and University of Wisconsin provides the most detailed and comprehensive assessment to date of the direct connection between U.S. biofuels policy and specific economic and field-level environmental changes following passage of the Renewable Fuel Standard 10 years ago, according to the National Wildlife Federation.

The research shows the RFS and its implementation are “fueling an environmental disaster that is destroying monarch butterfly habitat and forage, draining western aquifers, accelerating climate change and numerous other effects,” according to the National Wildlife Federation. “Through rigorous economic analysis, they found that new demand for corn and soybeans to use for fuel has raised the prices farmers receive for those crops – as well as other crops like wheat and cotton that compete for the same farmland – by as much as a third.”

“Once the RFS policy helped make crops more profitable, that in turn made crop land more valuable and, therefore, more desirable. The research draws the clear link between crop demand driven by the biofuel mandate and the resulting cropland expansion and production intensification. Over 40 percent of this expansion, as well as the drastic and widespread environmental consequences that followed can now be traced directly to this federal policy.”

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