Swalwell Leads CA Members in Urging EPA to Support Renewable Fuels

Source: Office of Representative Swalwell • Posted: Wednesday, August 10, 2016

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15) on Monday led five of his California colleagues in writing to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to urge that it live up to Congress’ intent in enforcing the Renewable Fuel Standard.

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is a federal law that requires transportation fuels be blended with renewable biofuels – fuels made from living things, the use of which provides environmental and economic benefits. The law sets targets which increase each year for how much biofuel is to be blended.  The EPA has proposed waiving these levels and setting total required renewable fuel levels below the statutory amounts.

The House members urged EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to get the program back on track. The letter was sent as advocates from the across the country joined to celebrate the landmark legislation’s 11th anniversary.

“The RFS was created to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and provide U.S. consumers with access to cleaner transportation fuels.  Despite the recent increase in domestic oil production, the U.S. economy remains heavily dependent on foreign oil and at the mercy of international market prices,” the lawmakers noted.

Billions of dollars in private investment have made the United States a leader in homegrown, clean biofuels – California alone is home to dozens of companies working on approaches from algae and biodiesel-based products to municipal solid waste, supporting almost 60,000 jobs.

But the EPA’s proposed rule for 2017 falls short of total renewable fuel volumes set in the law by Congress.

“Under this methodology, which Congress previously rejected, EPA allows the oil industry to avoid its statutory blending obligation by claiming there is inadequate infrastructure to bring more biofuels to consumers,” the lawmakers wrote. “Yet due to the fact that the oil industry controls the fuel distribution infrastructure, the EPA is essentially allowing the oil industry to cap the RFS and limit future growth in the biofuels sector.”

Increased fuel demand and greater availability of higher ethanol blends is more than enough justification for the EPA to increase volumes for 2017 and get the RFS back on track, they concluded.

“California and the nation have made great strides in protecting the environment, improving air quality, meeting fuel demand and creating jobs through use of biofuels under renewable fuel standards,” Swalwell said. “The EPA must follow Congress’ intent and keep up the pressure on the oil industry to provide the infrastructure needed to deliver these cleaner fuels.”

Click here to read the letter in its entirety.