Government Shutdown—What’s at Stake for RFS Reform

October 2, 2013

While Congress continues to debate whether or not to keep the lights on, the rest of the country is left to bear the consequences of continued inaction.

Reform to the ethanol mandate or RFS, which appeared to be moving forward, is now stalled with the rest of the government. Here’s what’s at stake while we wait for Congress to return to work:

  • According to Reuters, The EPA will take one of the biggest hits of any federal agency during the government shut down this week, operating with less than seven percent of its employees —that means the clock is now stopped on the EPA's revisions to the unattainable renewable fuel volume standards for 2014. This is a prime example why a waiver from the EPA is not enough to deal with this policy; we need a real legislative fix.
  • The USDA expects food inflation of as much as four percent in 2013, compared with an average of 3 percent since 2004.
  • As for the environment, corn-based ethanol nearly doubles GHG emissions over 30 years — and we’re currently eight years (and counting…) into this policy.
  • The National Academy of Sciences reported that actually achieving the RFS would require increased federal budget outlays, mostly as a result of increased spending on payments, grants, loans, and loan guarantees to support cellulosic biofuels development — which aren’t even close to commercial production.

The bottom line? This shut down decreases the number of days Congress can work to right this broken policy that will cost the United States $770 billion per year in GDP by 2015. Demand action from our Congress on this broken policy.