Groups request Senate hearing on renewable fuel standard

Source: Jason Plautz • E&E  • Posted: Thursday, December 1, 2011

In light of recent criticism and a scandal over fraudulent biofuels production credits, a coalition of environmental, agricultural and conservative spending groups are calling on a Senate committee to examine the renewable fuels standard.

In a letter yesterday to leaders on the Environment and Public Works Committee, the groups ask for a hearing to explore the “impacts of the renewable fuel standard on the environment, food price volatility and the economy.”The RFS — which mandates that 36 billion gallons of fuel come from alternative sources by 2022 — has come under fire in recent months. A National Research Council study in October found that the RFS may have negative environmental and economic effects, including higher food prices (Greenwire, Oct. 4). Agricultural groups have also questioned whether the fuel mandates will have a negative impact on their industry by diverting food stocks.Recently, industry groups have raised red flags about a U.S. EPA production credit system after the agency identified $9 billion in fraudulent “renewable identification numbers.”

“The RFS is failing to achieve its intended goals of bringing about truly environmentally and economically sustainable alternative transportation fuels, while mandating massive volumes of harmful fuels like corn ethanol,” the groups said in the letter.

Among the groups signing on were Friends of the Earth, Americans for Tax Reform, Public Citizen and Americans for Limited Government.

A spokesman for the EPW Committee said last night that the committee will review the letter.

Click here to read the letter.