Despite recent controversy surrounding the Renewable Fuels Standard, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney included the program in his energy plan released this week.
In his white paper regarding the program, Romney pledged to support private-sector new technology development with new energy sources.
The paper said Romney would maintain the RFS and eliminate regulatory barriers to diversification of the electrical grid, fuel system or vehicle fleet. He also pledged support of wind, solar, hydroelectric and other renewable energy efforts.
Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen supported Romney's plan to include the RFS.
"The RFS is helping to reduce America's reliance on imported oil and create hundreds of thousands of jobs all across rural America," he said. "By working to remove barriers to market access for renewable fuels, as Governor Romney suggests, America can help spur an economic recovery while securing our energy future."
Dinneen said the group was interested in hearing more about Gov. Romney's plans.
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, which represents the liquid renewable fuels industry in Iowa, said supporting the RFS will help break the petroleum industry's monopoly. Iowa is home to 13 biodiesel facilities and 41 ethanol refineries.
This summer's drought has caused much debate over the effectiveness of the RFS, including petitions from five state governors. Livestock producers say the ethanol mandate raises corn price and stresses corn supplies. Corn producers say it is too early to determine how the drought will affect final yields. Ethanol groups, weighed in too, saying the market will effectively ration demand for short-supply commodities such as corn.
This week, the EPA released a 30-day notice for comment regarding a waiver of the RFS in light of drought and supply concerns.
Easing Additional Policy Restrictions
Though much focus remains on transportation fuel policy, Romney's energy policy document also lists support for easing restrictions on EPA's "outdated" Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. The policy says the acts contribute to job loss.
"The Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and other environmental laws need to be overhauled. Laws that require every significant scientific innovation or technological breakthrough to trigger prolonged regulatory scrutiny and years of spurious litigation are an excellent means of imposing self-inflicted wounds on our economy," the policy says.
Romney pledges to amend the Clean Air Act and "preserve our environmental gains without paralyzing industry and destroying jobs."
Romney plans to use existing coal and natural gas resources, and also allow offshore drilling.
A Romney Administration "will permit drilling wherever it can be done safely, taking into account local concerns. This includes the Gulf of Mexico, both the Atlantic and Pacific Outer Continental Shelves, Western lands, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and off the Alaska coast," the report says.
The Keystone XL Pipeline is also a top priority. Romney's white paper pledged to cooperate with other governments to promote cross-border investment and sales. The document said a fast-track approval process for cross-border pipelines and other infrastructure would be a priority.