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The Truth about Ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard

State of the Union BINGO

Tonight President Obama will address the joint houses of Congress, as well as the American people, setting the agenda for the executive branch for the coming year.

For those in DC, it’s a big night out, but if you’d like to play along at home while watching the State of the Union, we’re happy to oblige.

Download our SOTU Bingo cards and every time President Obama mentions an RFS consequence or something political ridiculous happens, mark your card!

Also – today is the last day for you to tell the EPA to lower the ethanol mandate. Make sure you tell the EPA you support lowering the mandate!

Bedfellows Coalition Letter to the House of Representatives Energy & Commerce Committee

Letter of Concerns to the Energy and Commerce Committee

On Oct. 7, a diverse group of agriculture, business, environment, food retail, hunger, taxpayer, and public interest groups petitioned Congress demanding reform of the Renewable Fuel Standard. The group asked that "any legislation that the Committee considers recognizes and addresses the havoc that the corn ethanol mandate has placed on the multitude of stakeholder interests represented on this letter."

The signers included:

Action Aid USA
American Frozen Food Institute
American Meat Institute
American Sportfishing Association
Boat US
California Dairy Campaign
California Poultry Federation
Clean Air Task Force
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Dairy Producers of New Mexico
Dairy Producers of Utah
Environmental Working Group
Freedom Action
Friends of the Earth
Idaho Dairymen’s Association
Indiana State Poultry Association
Iowa Turkey Federation
Marine Retailers Association of the Americas
Michigan Allied Poultry, Inc.
Milk Producers Council
Minnesota Turkey Growers Association
National Chicken Council
National Council of Chain Restaurants
National Marine Manufacturers Association
National Restaurant Association
National Taxpayers Union
National Turkey Federation
Nevada State Dairy Commission
Northwest Dairy Association
North American Meat Association
North Carolina Poultry Federation
Oregon Dairy Farmers Association
Oxfam America
Southeast Milk, Inc.
Specialty Equipment Market Association
Taxpayers for Common Sense
Texas Egg Council
Texas Broiler Council
Texas Poultry Federation
Texas Turkey Federation
The Poultry Federation
Virginia Poultry Federation
Washington State Dairy Federation
Wisconsin Poultry & Egg Industries Association

Oversight Committee Hearing Examining EPA’s Role in the Renewable Fuel Standard

This week, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing to “[examine] EPA’s Role in the Renewable Fuel Standard.” Witnesses from the Environmental Protection Agency, American Petroleum Institute, Energy Policy Research Foundation Inc., National Turkey Foundation and the Union of Concerned Scientists discussed the issue from their respective points of view.

Read the comments below for more perspective on the effect of the Renewable Fuel Standard on jobs and the economy, rising food prices for people and animals alike, engine damage and the environment.  

Rep. Lankford’s opening comments
Mr. Christopher Grundler, EPA, testimony
Mr. Jack Gerard, API, testimony
Mr. Lucian Pugliaresi, EPRINC, testimony
Mr. Joel Brandenberger, NTF, testimony
Jeremy I. Martin, Ph.D., UCS, testimony

Wetland Losses Due to Row Crop Expansion in the Dakota Prairie Pothole Region

Comments on Impacts of RFS

The House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce is issuing a series of white papers as the first step in reviewing the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Each white paper poses a series of questions on the pitfalls of the RFS to stakeholders in affected sectors.

From skyrocketing RIN prices to engine damage, land-use competition to higher animal feed costs and feeding the world’s hungry, organizations are dealing with the effects of this government boondoggle every day.

Below, you can read the comments on the first two white papers and check back as we update for each white paper issue area.

Paper 1- Blend Wall / Fuel Compatibility Issues

Paper 2- Agricultural Sector Impacts

Paper 3- Environmental Impacts

EPRINC: Get Ready for a Bumpy Ride – It Could be a Turbulent Year for Gasoline Prices

From the summer of 2012 through mid-February of this year, the price differential, or spread, between gasoline in New York Harbor and the Gulf Coast (NYH 2 GC) had been wider than at any similar period in recent history. During this time, retail gasoline in PADD 11 (East Coast) typically sold at a premium of $0.20-$0.30 per gallon to retail gasoline in PADD 3 (Gulf Coast), well above the historical premium.

The spread peaked at $0.41 per gallon in November, although this peak is partially attributed to Hurricane Sandy. The spread began to collapse in mid2February with improvements in the Northeastern supply chain and temporary refining issues in the Gulf Coast. The spread currently sits at a more ‘normal’ level of about $0.05 per gallon. However, it is far from certain that this calm will persist given the upcoming summer driving season, the tenuous supply situation in the Atlantic Basin (U.S. East Coast and Europe), and several regulatory hurdles which are emerging as serious barriers to the supply of refined products in the United States.

Read more >>

The Economist: Difference Engine: End the ethanol tax

Charles Babbage, March 25- THE uneasy relationship between America’s corn (maize) farmers and its oil refiners is fraying at the edges. The source of the conflict is the amount of corn-derived ethanol which has to be blended into petrol as an oxygenator, to boost the fuel’s octane rating (while also providing a generous off-budget subsidy for corn-growers). The farmers want the amount of ethanol used in petrol to be increased from 10% to 15% of each gallon sold at the pump. The distillers argue that diluting petrol with that amount of ethanol would damage engines and leave them liable to lawsuits from motorists and manufacturers alike.

Ethanol in such quantities can certainly damage engines that are not equipped to handle it—as few are. The problem is that, unlike the hydrocarbons of pure petrol, ethanol has a special affinity for water from the atmosphere. The entrapped moisture can corrode petrol tanks, pumps, fuel lines and injectors. Only 3.6% of vehicles on the road in America are certified to use fuel containing higher blends of ethanol like E15 and E85 (15% and 85% ethanol, respectively).

Moreover, ethanol burned in an engine produces more than twice as much ozone as the equivalent amount of petrol. Ground-level ozone is a big cause of smog. And, while good at boosting a fuel’s octane rating, ethanol packs only two-thirds the energy per gallon of petrol. As a result, motorists get fewer miles per gallon using fuel blended with ethanol than with undiluted petrol. So, even if blended fuel is cheaper per gallon than petrol (thanks to ethanol's subsidies), the overall cost of using it tends to be higher.

The tussle between Big Oil and Big Corn has burst into the open because of the sudden surge in petrol prices—up 12% since the beginning of March. This has happened at a time when oil prices in general have been flat, or even in decline.

Read more >>

Support for Wicker-Vitter Bill S. 344

On Thursday, February 26, a group of 37 organizations representing businesses, agriculture, environmental, development, and free market interests signed a letter of support for S. 344, introduced by Senators Wicker (R-Miss.) and Vitter (R-La.) to rescind EPA’s E15 waivers and to cap ethanol content in gasoline at 10 percent.