Biomass Feedstock Legal and Regulatory Challenges: Invasive Species Regulation, Biotechnology Approvals and Germplasm Control
Invasive species, genetically engineered biomass feedstocks and contractual mechanisms to manage intellectual property rights in germplasm are linked together by common legal and regulatory structures, whereby invasive species rules influence biotechnology regulation, as well as potential private law liability concerns associated with genetically modified plants. Contracts also specify terms for germplasm cultivation, harvesting, and destruction in order to mitigate the liability risk that potentially invasive species or genetically engineered plants may migrate while providing bio-refineries sufficient biomass quantities. The project is developing a science-based decision-making framework to avoid or mitigate these risks in the areas of feedstock development, cultivation, post-harvest practices and supply chain management.
Project team members analyzed government responses to invasive species and identified potential legal barriers to biomass production as well as significant opportunities for science-based regulatory reform. This research builds upon the project team’s previous exploration of supply chain contracts and state-focused environmental regulation of bioenergy feedstocks. Specific research efforts focused on standardizing state-based regulation of bioenergy feedstock production, legal and economic barriers to the harvest of current invasive plant populations for bioenergy conversion, and a novel investigation of the complexity of perennial energy crop production on rented farmland.
Deployment of biomass feedstocks implicates a variety of legal and regulatory concerns, including the potential invasiveness associated with a number of proposed bioenergy feedstocks. Our research works to mitigate this potential through regulatory and legal mechanisms. We examined the regulatory frameworks associated with invasive species in the U.S. and suggested implementation strategies for structural reform. Furthermore, we analyzed the role private contracting could have in reducing invasive species spread and found that the bioenergy farm lease could be a powerful tool in protecting agricultural landscapes. To that end, we created a framework within which to judge the efficacy of bioenergy farm leases.
Project team members co-authored two groundbreaking, multidisciplinary articles analyzing state responses to invasive species and noxious weed regulations that identified potential barriers to biomass production as well as significant opportunities for science-based regulatory reform. These articles prompted multiple invited presentations to key regulatory stakeholders at the state and federal level to discuss regulatory options. Moreover, this initial research has established a foundation from which to explore additional policy and regulatory modification to enable regulatory regimes to better account for science-based evaluation of plant species characteristics in the bioenergy context.
Additional work explored biotechnology law and regulation—analyzing novel legal pathways for government approval of novel plant species, liability standards, and intellectual property. In addition, Project PI Endres was invited to serve as a member of USDA’s “Agriculture for the 21st Century (AC 21) Potential Compensation Mechanisms” Working Group. Collaboration with the EBI’s Biofuels Law and Regulation: System Sustainability project resulted in an important theoretical analysis of bio-based supply chain contracts, from which addition work will explore farmland leases for biomass production, as well as contracting provisions incorporating intellectual property rights in biomass germplasm.
Published in 2014
Resolving Regulatory Uncertainty: Legislative Language for Potentially Invasive Bioenergy Feedstocks, Lauren D. Quinn, Elise C. Scott, A. Bryan Endres, Jacob N. Barney, Thomas B. Voigt, James McCubbins, Global Change Biology—Bioenergy, doi: 10:1111/gcbb.12216, August 6, 2014.
Published in 2013
Navigating the 'Noxious' and 'Invasive' Regulatory Landscape: Suggestions for Improved Regulation, Lauren Quinn, Jacob Barney, James McCubbins, A. Bryan Endres, BioScience, 63, pp. 124-131, doi: 10.1525/bio.2013.63.2.8, Feb. 13, 2013.
Frayed Seams in the 'Patchwork Quilt' of American Federalism: An Empirical Analysis of Invasive Plant Species Regulation, James McCubbins, A. Bryan Endres, Lauren Quinn, Jacob Barney, Environmental Law, 43, pp. 35-81, 2013.
Why Not Harvest Existing Invaders for Bioethanol? Lauren D. Quinn, A. Bryan Endres, Thomas B. Voigt, Biological Invasions, doi: 10.1007/s10530-013-0591-z, November 2013.
Published in 2012
Frayed Seams in the ‘Patchwork Quilt’ of American Federalism: An Empirical Analysis of Invasive Plant Species Regulation, James McCubbins, A. Bryan Endres, Lauren Quinn and Jacob Barney, ENVIRONMENTAL LAW (forthcoming 2013)
Building Bio-Based Supply Chains: Theoretical Perspective on Innovative Contract Design, Jody Endres, A. Bryan Endres and Jeremy J. Stoller, UCLA JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL LAW & POLICY (forthcoming 2013).
Necessity is the Mother, But Protection May Not Be the Father of Invention: the Limited Effect of Intellectual Property Regimes on Agricultural Innovation, A. Bryan Endres and Carly Giffin, COLUMBIA SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY LAW REVIEW (forthcoming 2013).
Navigating the ‘Noxious’ and ‘Invasive’ Regulatory Landscape: Suggestions for Improved Regulation, Lauren Quinn, Jacob Barney, James McCubbins and A. Bryan Endres, BIOSCIENCE 63, 124 –131.
A Brief Overview of How Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels has addressed GMOs, Sebastien Haye and A. Bryan Endres, AGRICULTURAL LAW, December 2012.
Controlling Feedstock Development, A. Bryan Endres and Jody Endres, BIOFUELS INTERNATIONAL.
An Evolutionary Approach to Agricultural Biotechnology: Litigation Challenges to the Regulatory and Common Law Regimes for Genetically Engineered Plants, A. Bryan Endres, NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY LAW JOURNAL 4, 59-87.
New Hope for Dedicated Genetically Engineered Bioenergy Feedstocks? A. Bryan Endres, GLOBAL CHANGE BIOLOGY-BIOENERGY 4, 127-129.
GMO Bioenergy: Potential Risks and Liabilities, Jennifer Coleman, Jacob Barney and A. Bryan Endres, AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION, AGRICULTURAL MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE NEWSLETTER Vol. 16, No. 2, 9–11, April 2012.