Bioenergy and Invasive Species: Implementation of the Renewable Fuel Standard

November 24, 2014 1:00 pm — 3:00 pm

Bioenergy has substantial promise—it can reduce our carbon footprint, promote domestic energy security, and have other benefits. However, many species proposed for bioenergy production are also invasive species. As a result, bioenergy development can lead to the introduction of known invaders, and associated environmental and economic harm, unless feedstock species are carefully selected and cultivated.

Agencies have begun to incorporate invasive species considerations into bioenergy programs. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is one of the foremost programs supporting the development and use of renewable biofuels in the United States. Under the program, EPA reviews petitions for approval of fuel production pathways to determine if they meet the standards for approval as qualified pathways. EPA has received a number of petitions for fuel pathways based on species that are known or expected to be invasive in the United States, including Arundo donax and Pennisetum purpureum.

In its recent final rule approving pathways based on these species, EPA for the first time incorporated requirements to reduce the risk that bioenergy plants will escape from cultivation, and it is working with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to assess invasion risk from proposed plants and develop risk mitigation requirements. This webinar will consider these emerging efforts to address invasion risks under the RFS program, with speakers representing EPA, USDA, conservation, and industry perspectives.


Sharyn Lie [video], Director, Climate Economics and Modeling Center, EPA Office of Transportation and Air Quality
Jonathan Jones [video], USDA-APHIS-PPQ-PHP Pest Management Team
Aviva Glaser [video], Senior Policy Specialist, National Wildlife Federation
Delane Richardson [video], Vice President, Chemtex


Read Porter, Director, Invasive Species Program, Environmental Law Institute

Background Materials:

Bioenergy Feedstocks at Low Risk for Invasion in the USA: a “White List” Approach (Quinn et al. 2014)
Why not Harvest Existing Invaders for Bioethanol? (Quinn et al. 2014)
Growing Risk: Addressing the Invasive Potential of Bioenergy Feedstocks (Glaser & Glick 2012)
Weed Risk Assessment for Arundo donax L. (Poaceae) – Giant reed (USDA-APHIS 2012)

Scientists Letter Urging Precaution on Potentially Invasive Bioenergy Feedstocks (2012)
100+ Groups Letter to OMB Urging Rejection of Proposed EPA Rule (2012)