NACS: Lawmakers Propose Reform of Renewable Fuel Standard

Jan 30, 2015
In The News

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A bipartisan coalition of four House members this week attempted to drum up support for legislation that would reform the renewable fuel standard (RFS).

On Monday, the group circulated a "Dear Colleague" letter to House offices seeking cosponsors for the legislation, which would eliminate the annual requirements for corn ethanol, among other changes to the RFS. Sources say that the bill could be introduced as soon as next week, according to a report in Energy & Environment Daily.

"The RFS is causing unintended and negative consequences for American consumers, energy producers, livestock farmers, and food manufacturers and retailers," Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Steve Womack (R-AR) and Peter Welch (D-VT) wrote in their letter. "The RFS needs fundamental reform and we urge you to join us by cosponsoring legislation to accomplish this task."

Congress passed the renewable fuel standard in 2007 to require refiners to blend increasing amounts of ethanol and advanced biofuels into petroleum fuels. Proponents of the policy in the biofuels industry say that the standard has been vital in reducing greenhouse gases and increasing energy security. But critics say that ethanol has had a negative impact on food prices, car engines, the environment and the livestock industry.

Along with striking corn ethanol from the RFS, the legislation led by Goodlatte would also cap the amount of ethanol that can be blended into petroleum gasoline and would compel EPA to base its annual targets for cellulosic biofuel on actual production numbers.

The lawmakers previously introduced a version of the legislation in the 113th Congress, but the bill died in committee. It had 82 cosponsors, nearly a quarter of them Democrats. A strange-bedfellows coalition of oil, environmental, livestock and food groups supported the bill; biofuels groups, on the other hand, strongly opposed it.

Goodlatte also sponsored legislation last Congress to completely eliminate the RFS.

While NACS does not support repeal of theRenewable Fuels Standard (RFS), NACS has been working with EPA and Congress to ensure that the annual volumes of ethanol mandated by EPA reflect the current economics and that the marketplace can absorb those increases of renewable fuels.  Last year, NACS supported EPA's draft proposal for the 2014 RFS volumes and was disappointed when the Administration postponed making that rule final.  NACS will continue to work with policymakers to ensure that retailers are able to sell the fuels that consumers demand.