Dems turn cold on ethanol

January 10, 2014

After enduring eight years of this unfortunate policy, Democrats (and Republicans) are turning sour on the Renewable Fuel Standard.

As we previously discussed, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2013 with her pal from across the aisle, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK).

“Under the corn ethanol mandate in the RFS, roughly 44 percent of U.S. corn is diverted from food to fuel, pushing up the cost of food and animal feed and damaging the environment,” said Feinstein. “Oil companies are also unable to blend more corn ethanol into gasoline without causing problems for automobiles, boats and other vehicles.”

Charles Kenny, a fellow at the New America Foundation, pointed out in Bloomberg Businessweek that the only proposals getting bipartisan support these days are post offices, but the ethanol mandate deserves the special attention.

“The biofuels regulations result in higher food prices, and their impact on the environment is at best slightly positive and could be negative.”

Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) has also supported changes to the RFS for some time now. Welch called the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed reduction to the 2014 mandate a “clear sign that this law isn’t working” and encouraged the rest of his Congressional colleagues to “move forward with much needed ethanol policy reform.”

The EPA’s recognition of the shortcomings of this policy are a good first step but for the sake of market certainty, Americans deserve long term Congressional action.