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Corn Growers Press Treasury Secretary Yellen to Use GREET Model in Sustainable Aviation Fuel Tax Credits

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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A group of farmers has asked the U.S. treasury secretary to adopt a popular carbon lifecycle model when setting tax credits for sustainable aviation fuel. (DTN file photo by Elaine Shein)

LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- As the Biden administration works to implement tax credits for sustainable aviation fuel established by the Inflation Reduction Act, a group of corn grower association leaders are pressing for the use a renowned carbon emissions model as part of the process.

For years the biofuels industry has pressed on the EPA to adopt the Argonne National Laboratory's Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Endergy use in Transportation, or GREET, model when calculating greenhouse gas emissions scores. That's because the GREET model includes the latest biofuels data.

As the SAF industry gets off the ground it will be using feedstocks produced by farmers to produce the fuel, creating a new market for row crops and other biomass.

In a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen on Thursday, the presidents of the National Corn Growers Association and state-level presidents from Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin, made the case for using GREET in establishing the SAF credits.

"Because biomass feedstocks, including feedstocks from agriculture and corn ethanol, are essential SAF sources, it is imperative that this new tax credit properly accounts for the lifecycle carbon emission reductions of these sources and the conventional jet fuel these new fuels will replace," the letter said.

"There are numerous reasons as to why the GREET model is the instrument for accomplishing that objective."

Currently, the GREET model is the federal government's "most robust and updated model" or methodology for transportation lifecycle assessment.

GREET is used globally to measure lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions from transportation and the U.S. Department of Energy "has the best resources, expertise, and current ability within federal government agencies to assess lifecycle emissions accurately and scientifically," the letter said.

The presidents said GREET "accurately accounts" for on-farm carbon reduction efforts and feedstock yield increases and improved ag production practices.

"This further solidifies GREET as the methodology the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the IRS should use to determine tax credits for SAF under the IRA," the letter said.

"President Biden has actively spoken out about the important role farmers will play in lowering the carbon footprint in the aviation arena. During a recent speech in Maine, the president said, 'Mark my words: the next 20 years, farmers are going to be providing 95% of all the sustainable airline fuel.'

"If we are going to make the president's promise a reality, we are going to have to have a reliable model in place and one that bases U.S. tax policy on the best information and instruments the U.S. government has to offer."

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