Bipartisan Group of Legislators Introduce RFS Reform Act

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Steve Womack (R-AR), and Peter Welch (D-VT) released the following statement today regarding the introduction of the RFS Reform Act in the U.S. House of Representatives:

“The RFS debate is no longer just a debate about fuel or food.  It is also a debate about jobs, small business, and economic growth.  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.  The broad coalition of organizations supporting this legislation echo the same sentiment: the RFS is not working.”

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) mandates that 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels be part of our nation’s fuel supply by 2022.  Almost all of this is currently being fulfilled by corn ethanol.  In 2011, five billion bushels of the corn supply was used for ethanol – equal to nearly 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop.  While the RFS is causing food prices to go up, the RFS has not provided relief for consumers at the pump.  In fact, citing the RFS, the EPA is setting the target for refiners to blend cellulosic biofuels into gasoline higher than the amount of cellulosic biofuels that exists.  When these non-existent fuels cannot be blended refiners are financially penalized, which ultimately gets passed on to consumers at the pump.

“The RFS Reform Act will eliminate corn-based ethanol requirements, cap the amount of ethanol that can be blended into conventional gasoline at 10 percent, and require the EPA to set cellulosic biofuels levels at production levels.  Renewable fuels play an important role in our energy policy but should compete fairly in the marketplace.  This legislation will bring the fundamental reform this unworkable federal policy needs now.”

Congressman Costa added, “The debate is over; the Renewable Fuel Standard as we know it is not sustainable. I have heard just this week from Foster Farms, poultry producers in my district, that their price of doing business has jumped by over $250 million annually in the last 5 years because of skyrocketing corn prices. Putting food into our fuel tanks is hurting dairymen and women, livestock producers, consumers, and businesses across the nation. We can’t afford this. It’s time for real, wholesale change.”

The RFS Reform Act is supported by a diverse group of more than 40 organizations, including ActionAid USA, the American Frozen Food Institute, the American Meat Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Environmental Working Group, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Milk Producers Council, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the National Chicken Council, the National Council of Chain Restaurants, the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the National Restaurant Association, the National Taxpayers Union, the National Turkey Federation, the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, and Taxpayers for Commonsense.