Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) introduced legislation this week seeking to eliminate the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). “The RFS debate is no longer just a debate about fuel or food. It is also a debate about jobs, small business, economic growth and freedom. The federal government’s creation of an artificial market for the ethanol industry has quite frankly triggered a domino effect that is hurting American consumers, energy producers, livestock producers, food manufacturers and retailers. Extreme drought last summer and record corn prices made it clear that the RFS is not working,” Goodlatte said.
Goodlatte has introduced the RFS Elimination Act, which would eliminate the RFS and “make ethanol compete in a free market.” He said, “Renewable fuels play an important role in our all-of-the-above energy policy, but should compete fairly in the marketplace and not be the beneficiary of an anti-competitive government mandate. American families and businesses should not have to shoulder the high cost of this unworkable federal ethanol mandate.”
The Virginia Congressman also introduced the bipartisan RFS Reform Act, which eliminates corn-based ethanol requirements, caps the amount of ethanol that can be blended into conventional gasoline at 10 percent, and requires the EPA to set cellulosic biofuels levels at production levels.
The RFS Reform Act is supported by a diverse group of organizations, including the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Milk Producers Council, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the National Chicken Council, the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the National Restaurant Association, the National Taxpayers Union, the National Turkey Federation, the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, Taxpayers for Common Sense and others.
The RFS Elimination Act and the RFS Reform Act will be referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Jack Gerard, president and CEO, American Petroleum Institute (API) welcomed the bipartisan proposal. “The nation’s ever increasing ethanol mandate is a crisis in waiting, and a chorus of concerned groups has joined API in calling on congress to repeal it,” Gerard said. “Unless we stop this madness now, the mandate could put consumers in harm’s way, hurt the economy and disrupt the nation’s fuel supply.”
Gerard added that the amount of ethanol required to be blended under the RFS “is unsafe for most vehicles on the road today.” “Millions of cars could be severely damaged by fuel blends that contain more than 10 percent ethanol, according to studies by the Coordinating Research Council and automakers have said higher ethanol blends would void car warranties,” he said.
“The motivation behind this bill is backwards, silly, circular logic,” said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO, Renewable Fuels Association. “The authors insist they're not anti-biofuels, but the bill guts the only program that has successfully opened the market to these new technologies, lowering our dependence on imported oil and reducing the consumer price of gasoline. The authors state they want a 'free market' for energy, but they do nothing to end the billions in subsidies to Big Oil and they deny market access to E15. The authors portend to retain the mandate for new cellulosic and advanced biofuels, but the bill handcuffs the commercialization of these fuels by removing the forward-looking, market-driving provisions of the original legislation. It would be more direct and intellectually honest to simply say ‘this bill restores Big Oil’s monopoly.’”