Oil industry presses White House, Congress to scrap RFS

Source: Jason Plautz, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, April 18, 2013

Executives from 10 refining companies and two major oil industry groups met yesterday with Obama administration officials and members of Congress to urge them to set aside the renewable fuel standard biofuels mandate.

American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Jack Gerard and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers President Charles Drevna led the group at meetings aimed at rolling back the RFS mandate of blending 36 billion gallons of biofuel into gasoline by 2022.

“We are joining a growing chorus of concerned groups urging Congress to repeal the renewable fuel standard before the mandate potentially puts consumers in harm’s way, hurts the economy and disrupts the nation’s fuel supply,” Gerard said.

The oil group met with Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council, and White House climate and energy adviser Heather Zichal.

There was a separate meeting with acting U.S. EPA Administrator Bob Perciasepe and air chief and administrator nominee Gina McCarthy.

On the Hill, the group met with lawmakers from both parties, including House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Energy and Commerce Committee ranking member Henry Waxman (D-Calif.). They also met with Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), the ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who last week introduced a pair of bills targeting the RFS, also got a visit. Goodlatte introduced one bill that would cut the targets for renewable fuels set under the RFS and a second that would eliminate the program (E&E Daily, April 11).

The industry has warned that the RFS goals for ethanol and more advanced biofuels are no longer tenable and could cause as much as $770 billion in harm to the country’s gross domestic product by 2015. API also says adding more ethanol to gasoline could damage cars and engines.

Supporters argue that the targets have led to cleaner fuels that reduce air pollution and that the goals have spurred investments in advanced biofuels. The administration has held fast to the RFS in light of criticism.

Other lawmakers who met with the oil lobbyists are House Science, Space and Technology Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), and Reps. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), Steve Scalise (R-La.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Bill Flores (R-Texas), Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Michael Burgess (R-Texas), Clyde Barrow (D-Ga.) and Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.).