Olson, Costa Urge Competition in Energy Production

Washington, DC- Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) and Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA) today introduced bipartisan legislation to increase competition, stabilize food prices and enhance American energy security and global competitiveness. The Domestic Alternative Fuels Act, H.R. 1959, would allow ethanol produced from domestic natural gas to be included under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and compete with corn-based ethanol.  

The RFS was designed to reduce our need for imported oil, but the unintended consequences have resulted in escalated food and feedstock prices by diverting food crops to ethanol production. Original co-sponsors include: Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Rep. Eric "Rick" Crawford (R-AR), Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX), Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), Rep. Gene Green (D-TX), Rep. Blake Fahrenthold (R-TX), Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR), Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX), Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Rep. Filemon Vela (D-TX), Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) and Rep. Thomas Marino (R-PA).

Rep. Pete Olson said. "The RFS' singular focus on corn ethanol translates into higher food costs for working families, as well as higher feed costs for livestock producers. To be clear, my primary goal will always be the full repeal of the market distorting RFS. However, until then, we can take care of immediate problems by providing greater participation and competition under the program. Expanding the sources for ethanol will only benefit all Americans. I'm pleased this measure enjoys bipartisan and widespread support."

Rep. Jim Costa said, “We cannot keep gambling our nation’s energy and food security on a broken policy. The Renewable Fuel Standard has injected uncertainty into our economy, and it’s time to bring this policy back into balance. Our bill will help stabilize feed prices and create some sanity in this policy through diversifying sources for ethanol production. American families and farmers cannot continue to pay for Washington’s unwillingness to reform the RFS.”

H.R. 1959 would establish Domestic Alternative Fuel as an independent fuel category and list it within the regulations that specify volume obligations to meet the RFS. The artificial market created by the RFS mandate will require 36 billion gallons of ethanol in less than 10 years - quadruple the initial 2008 mandate.  An estimated 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop was used for ethanol production in recent years, resulting in diminished supplies for livestock and food producers and higher corn prices. 

The bill would also enhance America’s energy security and global competiveness by expanding the eligibility requirements within the RFS to allow ethanol derived from natural gas to compete with corn-based ethanol. Broadening the number of feedstocks eligible within the RFS will enable greater capital investment in research and development and promote the construction of new domestic production facilities, creating American jobs.

Groups in support of the Domestic Alternative Fuels Act: National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Chicken Council, America’s Natural Gas Alliance.