Broad Support for the Renewable Fuel Standard Reform Act

February 6, 2015

The new Congress has been in session for less than a month, but there’s one federal policy that’s so strikingly bad there’s already bipartisan action in both the House and Senate calling for a sweeping overhaul. In a legislative body famous for getting little done, you know the policy in question must be really broken!

Which federal policy is at the center of this bipartisan movement? It’s the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the policy responsible for mandating that biofuels be mixed into America’s fuel supply (and in turn, the fuel that goes into your gas tank).

So what has members of Congress slating the RFS for an extreme makeover? According to Senators Feinstein (D-CA) and Toomey (R-PA), the ethanol mandate created by the RFS “drives up gas prices, increases food costs, damages car engines, and is harmful to the environment.”

You heard that right. The RFS actually forces Americans to pay a premium both at the pump and the grocery store to put a fuel into their gas tanks that can damage their engine and is a net-negative for the environment. No wonder this ill-conceived policy is on the chopping block!

What did members of the House of Representatives have to say? As the RFS Reform Act (H.R. 704) was introduced in the House, the bill’s co-sponsors didn’t mince words. Representative Goodlatte (R-VA) called the RFS “a boondoggle.” Democrat Peter Welch of Vermont was more generous in his description labeling it a “well-intended flop.”

But it wasn’t just legislators on Capitol Hill who spoke out against this broken policy. A diverse group of nongovernmental organizations, consumer advocacy groups and engine manufacturers also had their say:

  • When the bill was first introduced in 2013, ActionAid, a human rights organization, called the move “an important step towards common-sense reform” and encouraged Congress to “stop supporting policies that promote fuel over food.”
  • Environmental Working Group and Friends of the Earth, two of leading environmental groups, called the RFS Reform Act “the logical next step to reduce the harm that corn ethanol does to our environment,” and urged Congress to take action on the “widely acknowledged nightmare for our air, water, and climate.”
  • The American Sportfishing Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association and BoatUS applauded the legislation stressing that engine damage caused by the mandate could put boaters in potentially life-threatening situations.

Tell your Congressman to support H.R. 704; 2015 is the year for action on this broken policy!

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