Action Alert: Hurry! Please write before June 9 to stall new biofuels regulations

In 2008 the Federal government passed the highly controversial and widely denounced Bill C-33.

The new law amends the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, allowing the federal government to implement regulations establishing a requirement for 5% ethanol content in gasoline and 2% biodiesel content in diesel and heating oil.

When the Senate passed Bill C-33, it did so with a recommendation that care would need to be used in the development of the regulation and suggested that, “any new information that is available prior to regulations being proposed is taken into consideration before such regulations are promulgated.”

The regulations for the implementation of the biofuels mandate were recently gazetted and Canadians have until June 9th to voice their concerns.

After promising economic benefits for farmers, the government’s regulatory impact statement now reveals that farmers will not benefit from the production of feedstock grains used to make the biofuels and in fact the impact statement says more corn will be imported from the US to meet the mandate in eastern Canada.

The impact statement also shows that consumers are expected to bear the bulk of the $2 billion expense associated with the biofuel expansion. This is a result of increased fuel consumption due to the lower energy content of ethanol-blended gasoline, and also due to industry costs associated with the biofuel mandate that will likely be passed on to consumers:

“Assuming all industry costs are passed on to the consumer, regional average cost over 25 years range from 7 cents in Ontario to a relatively higher impact of 30 cents in Quebec and the Atlantic provinces.”

The promise that air quality would get better and thus improve the health of Canadians also didn’t pan out as a recent 2009 Health Canada report concluded that “there are no substantial differences in predicted health effects between use of conventional use (gasoline) and E10 (ethanol-blended gasoline).”

So why is Canada still implementing a costly biofuel mandate that will subsidize Suncor Energy, Greenfields Ethanol and Husky Oil?

The Federal Government still says it is good for the environment, even though its own research indicates there is no statistical difference in greenhouse gas emissions at the tailpipe between vehicles using ethanol and vehicles not using ethanol.

Now the federal government is hiding another report, before the regulation gets passed.

Earlier this year Environment Canada awarded a contract to conduct an environmental assessment and baseline survey of Canada’s biofuel industry. Wouldn’t it make sense to wait until after the report is completed before adopting the regulations?

Please write to Environment Canada asking that the consultation period for the biofuel regulation be extended so that the Canadian public has the opportunity to voice its concerns, based on this latest information.

No later than June 9, write to:

Leif Stephanson, Chief, Fuels Section

Include in your letter some other concerns that you may have about Canada’s biofuel mandate. A good primer can be found here.

Please also write to the Members of Parliament that are members of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development to request that the regulations be brought back to Committee for further study before they are promulgated.

Members of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development:

Bob Mills:

Bernard Bigras:

Geoff Regan:

Mike Allen:

Nathan Cullen:

Luc Harvey:

Marcel Lussier:

David J. McGuinty:

Anthony Rota:

Francis Scarpaleggia:

Maurice Vellacott:

Mark Warawa: