Bill due to remove corn ethanol from RFS

Bipartisan legislation will be introduced to remove corn-based ethanol from the federal Renewable Fuels Standard in 2014, a group of US House members announced on Apr. 10.

“The RFS Reform Act will eliminate corn-based ethanol requirements, cap the amount of ethanol that can be blended into conventional gasoline at 10%, and require the [US Environmental Protection Agency] to set cellulosic biofuels levels at production levels,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), the bill’s primary sponsor.

“Renewable fuels play an important role in our energy policy but should compete fairly in the marketplace,” he continued. “This legislation will bring the fundamental reform this unworkable federal policy needs now.”

The bill would be in addition to legislation Goodlatte plans to introduce which would eliminate the RFS entirely, he noted.

Declaring the RFS “is not working,” Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.) said, “We can’t afford to keep putting food in our fuel tanks. It’s no longer just about agriculture or energy. It’s about putting food on our families’ tables.”

Bill’s prospects

Goodlatte said prospects for passage of the bill are good because bipartisan support is growing, along with the number of organizations that support it. More than 40 groups back the legislation, he said.

Four more House members spoke in favor of the bill at an Apr. 10 press conference near the US Capitol. The American Petroleum Institute and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers welcomed the proposal.

“Ethanol and other renewable fuels have an important role to play in our transportation fuel mix and will continue to be used after Congress repeals the mandate,” API Pres. Jack N. Gerard said. “But we cannot allow a mandate for ethanol that exceeds what is safe and that could put upward pressure on fuel prices.”

AFPM Pres. Charles T. Drevna said the RFS elimination bill “recognizes that betting on the RFS to work is like betting against reality: Eventually, you lose.”

Drevna said, “The RFS was founded upon baseless assumptions and now, 8 years later, the reality is that there is no fix for this broken program, which is why AFPM fully supports the elimination legislation.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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