RFS Roundup: ‘Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act’ Reintroduced, Industry Responds

Source: By Jessie Stolark, EESI • Posted: Monday, March 2, 2015

On February 26, Sens. Feinstein (D-CA) and Toomey (R-PA) reintroduced the ‘Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2015,’ that would remove corn ethanol from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), despite the fact that there is no specific language mandating the use of corn ethanol in the law.  The bill was attached as an amendment to the Keystone XL bill (S.1), but was not brought to a vote. Sen. Flake (R-AZ) is a co-sponsor.  Other lawmakers, such as Sen. Lankford (R-OK) have expressed interest in “reforming” the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

While Lankford and other lawmakers’ calls to simply let the market decide may sound good – it’s a sleight of hand that would ultimately damage the entire renewable fuels industry.  According to Bob Dineen, Executive Director of the Renewable Fuels Association, “The sad irony of the Feinstein-Toomey effort is that, if passed, the sector most likely to be harmed would be the advanced and cellulosic technologies that are just now realizing commercial success. This bill would desolate investment in that nascent sector by crushing the foundation upon which those new technologies hope to build.”

In response to the bill, investors and owners of first generation advanced cellulosic plants and technology have written to President Obama, asking the administration to direct EPA to craft a new rule that supports the original intent of the RFS. DuPont, BIO, Archer Daniels Midland Co., Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), Abengoa Bioenergy, Novozymes, Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy and American Ethanol Coalition signed the letter.

In it, they write, “The RFS is a critical policy reducing both our nation’s dependence on foreign oil and greenhouse gas emissions. Your recent bold actions on climate are proof of your leadership and commitment to prioritize climate issues. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2014 proposed RFS rule, however, threatened these gains and jeopardized additional investment in cellulosic and advanced fuels. Our industry implores you to take the same bold measures when it comes to biofuels and protect the integrity of the RFS.”  Citing uncertainty over renewable fuels in the United States, the letter states that other nations are strongly interested in advanced biofuels, with “the advanced biofuels industry sees dollars flowing to countries such as China and Brazil because of their strong, stable policies.”

For more information see: 

Biofuel Industry Criticizes Toomey Feinstein RFS Bill, Ethanol Producer

Biofuels leaders respond to Feinstein-Toomey anti-RFS bill, and send Obama a letter, Biofuels Digest