Oil Lobby: There Is ‘Real Momentum’ in the House for RFS Reform

Source: By ASHA GLOVER, Morning Consult • Posted: Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Frank Macchiarola, the group director of downstream and industry operations for the American Petroleum Institute, on Tuesday said there is support in the House for reforming the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Speaking to reporters, Macchiarola said 111 members of Congress have signed on to legislation introduced by Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas), which would limit the RFS mandate to levels no higher than 9.70 percent of the total volume of gasoline projected to be sold in the U.S. during a calendar year. Macchiarola also said “a majority of Republican members on the Energy and Commerce committee” support reforming the RFS.

“We’re in a different time than we were in prior years because we have real momentum now, in the House, for significant reforms to the RFS. So the momentum that we’ve gained among policy makers, now has us re-looking at our strategy,” Macchiarola said.

Macchiarola said the process to ultimately reform the RFS could take time. And while there is hope that Congress could make a move on the policy this session, API is more hopeful that the issue will remain a legislative issue going into the next Congress.

“It doesn’t happen overnight, legislative process takes time, but clearly we have bipartisan momentum here that we haven’t had in past Congresses.”

Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA is required to set annual RFS volume requirements for cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel and renewable fuel.

Ethanol supporters defended RFS, saying there is no need to “rewrite the rules” when it comes to policy because many others have backed the biofuels industry. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor argued that rewriting the RFS would result in some of the same problems that backers of a rewrite say they want to avoid, including higher prices for Americans.

“Attempts to rewrite the RFS would only yield higher consumer costs, new burdens on small businesses, and fewer renewable options at the pump,” Skor said in a statement. “It is very straightforward — refiners can blend more renewable biofuels and profit in doing so, or choose not to and purchase the credits necessary to comply with the law.”