While we await the announcement of 2014 ethanol blending levels, which were delayed, yet again, by the EPA, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) filed a letter to Gina McCarthy, head of the Environmental Protection Agency calling for meaningful adjustments to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), with the support of 168 other members of Congress from both sides of the aisle.
“Whether it’s increasing amounts of ethanol in fuel or higher food and feed prices, the RFS continues to negatively impact American consumers and the economy,” said Goodlatte. “The demands of the current RFS are unrealistic and are causing great uncertainty.”
On Thursday, Oct. 31, Goodlatte sent the letter, urging the agency to exercise the authority to rework the policy after eight years of escalating repercussions including higher food prices, engine damage and overlooked contributions to GHG emissions.
“While well-intentioned, the federal ethanol mandate is inflicting significant economic harm on families by driving up food prices, on dairy farmers by driving up feed prices, and on homeowners and outdoorsmen by ruining small engines,” said Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT).
It is rumored that the EPA will finally take steps toward easing the pain of this failed policy, decreasing the mandated corn ethanol levels from 14.4 billion gallons to 13 billion gallons and the unachievable cellulosic mandate from 3.75 billion to 2.21 billion gallons.
A reduction for 2014 would be a good start, but it wouldn’t fully address the heart of the issue. Without a true legislative fix, every year would be rife with speculation, with industry and farmers alike trying to guess if and how the EPA would rule. It’s necessary for Congress to take action.
The signers of the letter comprise geographical, party and industry diversity that is hard to come by these days, a true testament to the failures of the policy. Also speaking out on biofuels policies recently are Sportsmen, Civil Society organizations and a group of agriculture, business, environment, food retail, hunger, taxpayer and public interest groups.