Governors: Don’t cut ethanol mandate

Source: BY ZACK COLMAN, The Wshington Examiner • Posted: Friday, October 3, 2014

A group of 33 governors pressed the White House to increase its proposed targets for blending next-generation biofuels for this year, saying failing to do so would hurt investment in the industry.

The governors, led by Illinois Democrat Pat Quinn and Iowa Republican Terry Branstad, said cuts to the Renewable Fuel Standard ethanol mandate endanger the biodiesel and advanced biofuel industries just as both are hitting their stride.

“The EPA’s proposed volume cuts for biodiesel are creating turmoil, resulting in production cutbacks and layoffs,” the governors, writing for the Governors Biofuels Coalition, said in a letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan. “More than halfway through the year, many jobs are in jeopardy and many biodiesel plants have been negatively impacted.”

The EPA proposed cuts to the ethanol mandate in November. OMB is reviewing the proposal.

The governors warned the proposed changes could spook investment in next-generation “cellulosic” biofuels, which are made from non-edible feedstock.

Those have been slow to come to fruition — certainly much slower than Congress had intended when it added the fuel to the mandate in 2007. But the first commercial-scale facility began operating last month, buoying supporters who had pleaded for patience.

“[T]he proposed RFS rule has discouraged new investment in the newly emerging cellulosic ethanol industry and now threatens the many new plants about to go into commercial production,” the governors wrote.