E&E News: Bipartisan House bill would slash RFS requirements

April 11, 2013

Amanda Peterka, April 9- Lawmakers plan to unveil a bipartisan reform bill today that would shrink the renewable fuel standard and reverse U.S. EPA's decision to allow more ethanol in gasoline.

The measure would revise the overall RFS target to 21 billion gallons of biofuels by 2022 and waive any advanced biofuel requirements before the beginning of next year, according to a draft obtained by E&E Daily. It would also cap ethanol allowed in gasoline at 10 percent.

Virginia Republican Bob Goodlatte plans to introduce the bill today at an afternoon news conference. Reps. Steve Womack (R-Ark.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) are original co-sponsors.

The 2007 RFS requires 36 billion gallons of biofuels to be blended into the nation's motor fuel supply by 2022. EPA sets yearly RFS targets for both conventional ethanol and advanced biofuels; this year, refiners are required to blend 13.8 billion gallons of corn ethanol and a proposed 2.75 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of advanced fuels.

EPA has proposed that 14 million ethanol-equivalent gallons must come from cellulosic sources, or plant-based materials such as agricultural residues, switchgrass and municipal solid waste.

RFS proponents say the standard is needed to reduce U.S. dependence on oil and build up the domestic advanced biofuels industry. The RFS has come under fire in recent months from a strange-bedfellow coalition of oil, auto, livestock and environmental interest groups that argue the standard isn't relevant under today's market conditions.

The Goodlatte legislation represents the most sweeping attempt at RFS reform this year. It incorporates several measures that other lawmakers have introduced already this Congress.