Environmental, Social & Economic Impacts projects

Biofuels Law and Regulation: System Sustainabilty

This project applies systems thinking in its quest for new policy approaches to more timely and effective commercialization of biofuels and bioenergy. Law as a discipline has been slow to conceive conceptual frameworks for policymaking that incorporate the complex interaction between social, environmental, political and economic institutions. The project thus pursues such development within the institution of Law from both ex-post and ex-ante perspectives. Simultaneously, it focuses on the myriad individual components of systems-level challenges and solutions both in the U.S. and abroad, such as policies that address the food-fuel resource scarcity debate, and biofuels sustainability standard development and incorporation of sustainability principles into the supply chain (started in 2012).

project Highlights

2014 Highlights

Environmental, social, and economic sustainability concerns fuel significant movements to erect policy barriers to successful commercialization. This research clarifies misconceptions of existing policy, anticipates policy positions, and reaches across disciplines to assist operators in getting out in front of sustainability policy developments that otherwise could be adverse to the sector. In 2014, U.S. Biomass Market Access Standard (BMAS) was developed in collaboration with the University of Tennessee. BMAS tool-building currently is creating web-based tools to go on the "front end," to convert producer checklists developed according to the former Council for Sustainable Biomass Production standard into a database interface for the producer to use in interacting with certifiers and biomass consumers. On the "back end," the tool will integrate existing third party and government tools with the front-end interface to provide holistic analysis of individual producers’ outcomes pegged to the standard. The group also is considering how to integrate existing forestry standards with agricultural standards to provide a holistic standard for more diverse operations. Policy-side analysis on a Federal Aviation Administration project aimed to commercializing biojet fuels in the U.S. has also begun.

2013 Highlights

We conduct research and outreach on policy architectures and institutional governance to foster adoption of sustainable biomass-to-energy systems. Negative perceptions about the environmental, social, and economic impacts of bioenergy may lead to policy barriers to successful commercialization. Our research clarifies misconceptions of existing policy, anticipates policy positions, and reaches across disciplines to assist stakeholders in leading rather than reacting to sustainability policy initiatives. Biomass-based energy is expected to conduct complex measurements of its impact on the environment and society.  Farmers and foresters, however, can meet standards only if they have capacity to conduct assessments and implement credible, verifiable solutions. The Biomass Market Access Standards (BMAS) group, co-directed by the Universities of Illinois and Tennessee, is developing standards and web-based tools that facilitate bioenergy standards implementation through producer interaction with certifiers and biomass consumers in gathering data and applying analytics. The group also is considering how to integrate existing forestry standards with agricultural standards to provide a holistic standard for more diverse operations.  Our group pursues research on how to implement similar regimes in Brazil and Europe that measure landscape level sustainability of ethanol systems.

2012 Highlights

PI Endres had five law review articles published with sustainability as its central theme. Operationalizing Biofuels Sustainability Standards: Legitimacy, Technological and Institutional Innovation, and Harmonization posits that many barriers stand in the way of implementing second-order sustainability innovations in the agricultural landscape. The Legal Profession’s Critical Role in Systems Level Bioenergy Decision-Making, for the first time in legal literature, delves into the assumptions made in controversial bioenergy modeling and highlights the role legal institutions play procedurally in ensuring greater ex ante and ex post accuracy. Barking up the Wrong Tree? Forest Sustainability in the Wake of Emerging Bioenergy Policies examines debates about whether existing forest protection rules are adequate to ensure that increased demand for forest biomass for energy does not lead to unacceptable environmental degradation. Because use of marginal land has become the preferred solution in the food-versus-fuel policy debate, the article Bioenergy, Resource Scarcity and the Rising Importance of Land Use Definitions alerts policy debates of the challenges in devising legal definitions of marginal lands.

 

PI Endres oversaw, as Chair of the Board, the Council for Sustainable Biomass Production’s publication of a final standard and guidance for sustainable agricultural biomass production. The effort, funded in part by the USDA NRCS, is the first of its kind to tailor a standard unique to the biomass production landscape in the U.S.

Publications

Published in 2014

Ecological Sustainability of Solid Wood Bioenergy Feedstock Supply Chains: Local, National, and International Policy Perspectives, E. Thiffault, M. Lorente, J. Murray, U. Fritsche, L. Iriarte, J. Endres, J. McCubbins, J., IEA Bioenergy Task 40, August 2014.

Published in 2013

Building Bio-Based Supply Chains: Theoretical Perspectives on Innovative Contract Design, Jody M. Endres, A. Bryan Endres, Jeremy J. Stoller, UCLA Journal of Environmental Law and Policy, (1942-8553) 31:1, 2013.

 

Bioenergy and Water Laws in the U.S., Jody M. Endres, Bioenergy and Water, publication of the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, J-F Dallemand and P. W. Gerbens-Leenes, Eds., doi: 10.2790/94637, 2013.

 

Barking Up the Wrong Tree? Forest Sustainability in the Wake of Emerging Bioenergy Policies, Jody M. Endres, Vermont Law Review 37(3), 763, 2013.

 

The Legal Profession's Critical Role in Systems-Level Bioenergy Decision-MakingJody M. Endres, Daniel Szewczyk, Pace Environmental Law Review, 30(2), 652, April 23, 2013.

 

Bioenergy, Resource Scarcity and the Rising Importance of Land Use Definitions, Jody Endres, North Dakota Law Review, Volume 88: 559, 2013.

Published in 2012

Operationalizing Biofuels Sustainability Standards: Legitimacy, Technological and Institutional Innovation, and Harmonization, Jody Endres, 38 Southern Illinois University Law Review, Fall 2012.

Building Bio-based Supply Chains: Theoretical Perspectives on Innovative Contracts, Jody Endres et al., 31 UCLA Journal or Environmental Law and Policy,  2013 (in press).

The Legal Profession's Critical Role in Systems Level Bioenergy Decision-Making,  Jody M. Endres and Daniel Szewczyk, Pace Environmental Law Review, Winter 2013.

 

Barking up the Wrong Tree? Forest Sustainability in the Wake of Emerging Bioenergy Policies, Jody M. Endres, Vermont Law Review, Winter 2012 (In Press).

 

Bioenergy, Resource Scarcity and the Rising Importance of Land Use Definitions, Jody M. Endres, North Dakota Law Review (Special Symposium on Bioenergy Issue, Spring 2013, In Press).


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