Congressional Hispanic Caucus members come out in support of EPA proposal

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, April 10, 2014

Ten members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus today came out in support of a recent proposal by the Obama administration to roll back the corn ethanol mandate this year.
In a letter sent to U.S. EPA today, bipartisan members of the caucus said that corn ethanol was wreaking havoc on the U.S. economy and has failed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The caucus also said it was concerned about possible car engine damage through the use of increased ethanol in gasoline.”The mandate is causing unintended harm to the U.S. economy,” members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus wrote in the letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

Last fall, EPA proposed to lower the conventional ethanol mandate by 1.4 billion gallons compared to the level set out in the 2007 statute that created the renewable fuel standard, citing limits to the amount of ethanol that can be used in today’s fuel market. The agency also proposed to lower the targets for advanced biofuels (E&ENews PM, Nov. 15, 2013).

Members of the administration have indicated that the final proposal could look at least a little different from the proposed rule because of a recent increase in the amount of gasoline being used in the country. EPA is currently weighing comments on the proposal.

“We would ask that you stay the course,” the Congressional Hispanic Caucus members wrote.

The members said it would like to see a mandate that keeps the corn ethanol volume lower than 10 percent of the nation’s total gasoline supply. Most gasoline sold today contains 10 percent ethanol.

Earlier this year, the Congressional Black Caucus came out in support of EPA’s proposal.

The ethanol industry has slammed the proposed rollback, warning that it would hurt rural economies and undermine the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions and energy security goals. They dispute findings by the livestock industry that corn ethanol has raised costs, as well as findings by the oil and gas industry that increasing the amount of ethanol in gasoline up to 15 percent would damage car engines.