New Senate bill would repeal RFS 

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy (R) yesterday introduced legislation to repeal the federal renewable fuel standard, which Congress passed in 2007 to encourage greater use of corn ethanol and advanced biofuels.

In a statement, Cassidy alleged that the standard has driven up costs for “producers, refiners, farmers and families.” He blamed U.S. EPA for mismanaging its implementation.

“American energy production is increasing and fuel efficient technologies are improving,” he said in a statement. “Our workers need policies that help move our energy, farming and manufacturing industries forward — that starts by repealing the RFS.”

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) has already introduced legislation in the lower chamber to repeal the RFS.

The introduction of the two-page legislation in the Senate comes as EPA takes comments on a recent proposal to set refiners’ volumes for 2014, 2015 and 2016, as well as the biodiesel mandate for 2017. The proposal has pleased few stakeholders; biofuel producers argue that it undercuts their industry, while RFS critics say it sets the mandates too high.

Opponents of ethanol have rallied around the recent proposal, repeating their calls for repeal of the RFS. Shortly after Cassidy released details about his repeal bill, the American Energy Alliance issued a statement urging other senators to co-sponsor the bill.

“Anything short of full repeal is a step in the wrong direction,” Tom Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance, said in the statement.

The Senate bill is also supported by American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, the American Sportfishing Association, the Milk Producers Council, and the National Council of Chain Restaurants, among others.

On the House side, five lawmakers have jumped on to support Goodlatte’s repeal bill since EPA released its proposal, bringing the total number of co-sponsors there up to 67.

Most biofuel trade organizations have called on Congress to retain the current renewable fuel standard and have blamed EPA for any problems with the program.