House aggies react differently to RFS
House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said last week he was pleased that the Environmental Protection Agency increased the 2017 volumetric requirements for the Renewable Fuel Standard from an earlier proposal, while a coalition of other House members denounced the change.
“I am pleased that the Environmental Protection Agency has gotten the Renewable Fuel Standard back on schedule and released more robust, final volume obligations for 2017,” Peterson said. “I have advocated continuously for a strong Renewable Fuel Standard and for EPA to match congressional intent. This is an important step toward strengthening confidence in the biofuels industry and maintaining a strong rural economy.”
Peterson noted that on July 13 he led a bipartisan group of Congressional Biofuels Caucus lawmakers in a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy advocating the agency return RFS volume requirements to Congressional intent laid out in statute.
In their letter to McCarthy, the lawmakers wrote of the RFS: “The policy has created a dynamic market that is fully capable of producing and consuming the statutory volume of conventional biofuels and increasing amounts of advanced biofuels such as biodiesel. America’s crop farmers, biofuel producers and rural communities have made significant investments to get to this point, and we urge the EPA to finalize a rule and methodology that fully appreciates this progress.”
Meanwhile, Reps. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.; Jim Costa, D-Calif.; Steve Womack, R-Ark.; and Peter Welch, D-Vt., said that “forcing more ethanol into the market – while hurting consumers, food producers, and small engines across the nation – is not the solution. While well-intentioned, it has been clear for some time now that the RFS is a broken policy.”
They continued, “The EPA’s action today ignores basic economic and scientific facts, and sets the industry on a path that will be disastrous for families, small businesses and retailers, the agriculture community, food aid organizations, and the environment. Announcing higher fuel volumes for 2017 only emphasizes the unfairness of this mandate, and the need for Congress to step in and stop the harmful impacts. There are several good solutions on the table in the House to help lessen the effects of the ethanol mandate, including the RFS Reform Act, which we have introduced. Reforming the RFS remains a priority, and we will continue working to see a legislative fix move forward in Congress.”
The RFS Reform Act 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. Last week’s announcement, they said, “sets ethanol levels above the blend wall – the point at which many small engines can safely use ethanol blended gasoline.”
–The Hagstrom Report