Midwestern lawmakers want meeting with Obama on ethanol mandate

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, January 27, 2014

Democratic House members from the Midwest today called for a meeting with President Obama on a recent U.S. EPA proposal that would lower this year’s ethanol and advanced biofuel mandates.

The members, all of whom are strong supporters of the ethanol industry, said they want the opportunity to express concerns with the proposal, which calls for a 16 percent cut in ethanol and advanced biofuel usage this year compared to the level set out in the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act.

The proposal would pull the rug out from under rural economies and send a chilling message to investors in next-generation fuels, the lawmakers wrote to Obama today. They are Democratic Iowa Reps. Dave Loebsack and Bruce Braley; Minnesota Reps. Collin Peterson, Rick Nolan and Tim Walz; and Illinois Reps. William Enyart and Cheri Bustos.

They asked to meet with either Obama or his top advisers to discuss the mandate’s impact on their districts.

“The White House has taken an active role in developing the [renewable fuel standard] rules, and we believe it’s critically important that we have the opportunity to share the concerns of our constituents with you as well,” the lawmakers wrote.

Last week, the same group met with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on Capitol Hill to discuss the proposal (E&E Daily, Jan. 16).

During the rulemaking process, the White House urged EPA restraint in setting the targets, according to a Greenwire review of documents from an interagency analysis of the proposal. The administration expressed concern that the targets would require the use of more biofuels than is technically feasible and drive up compliance costs for refiners (Greenwire, Jan. 6).

Click here to read the letter.