Smarter Fuel Future Partners Respond to Proposed Fuel Mandate Rules

Two years behind schedule, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that it requires a waiver from the very law that it is in charge of implementing—the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)—a potent reminder that the RFS is badly in need of reform or repeal. Not only is this law un-implementable as written by the EPA’s own admission, the policy is harmful to our environment, our engines and our wallets. See what our partners have to say about today’s announcement:

“The three year combined rule released by the EPA today marks yet another step backwards with regard to the Renewable Fuel Standard. The RVOs announced will make it increasingly difficult for consumers to obtain low-ethanol and ethanol-free fuel blends required to run many engines successfully,  and will further promote the expansion of E15—a known harmful fuel to marine and off-road engines. If the EPA must continue to stand by the introduction of high ethanol blended fuels, at the very least it should engage in widespread public outreach efforts to educate consumers on the problems they may face including engine damage, voided warranties and costly repairs. As we’ve said before, the RFS is a broken law which sets unrealistic fuel mandates. And as we have done in the past, we again urge Congress to act swiftly by reforming the RFS in order to protect our industry and the others negatively affected by today’s decision.”

“The RFS sets biofuel blending targets that increasingly diverge from market realities. Moreover, EPA’s decision—or indecision—is ‘informed’ by intense interest-group lobbying and election-cycle political calculation. Instead of building a predictable market, the RFS has ushered in a reign of regulatory uncertainty. Another testament to the folly of centralized planning.”

“The fact that this proposal was more than two years behind schedule demonstrates a serious disconnect between the Renewable Fuel Standard policy and real-world consumer behavior. RFS has tentacles wrapped around so many areas of our economy—including agriculture, energy, and transportation—and it's long past time for policymakers to loosen this destructive grip.”

“About half of all anglers—both freshwater and saltwater—primarily use a boat while fishing. Motorboats are essential equipment to anglers because they provide access to fishable waters that they would not have otherwise. At the same time, safety while operating a motorboat is of utmost importance, and the ethanol mandate in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has compromised that protection for consumers. Therefore, the American Sportfishing Association urges Congress to reform the RFS as soon as possible. High ethanol gasoline blends can have significant detrimental effects on marine engine durability, performance and emissions, which affects boat use by anglers, and in turn, the recreational fishing industry. What started as a well-intentioned program promoting alternative energy sources has become a concerning issue to the recreational fishing industry and the broader fishing community.”

  • ​Environmental Working Group says:

    “There are few things worse for the environment than gasoline, and corn ethanol is one of them. Today’s announcement reinforces the need for Congress to reform the Renewable Fuel Standard, which so far has stimulated a massive increase of corn ethanol production and only a small amount of the green biofuels that could actually reduce carbon emissions.”

  • Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) says:

“The EPA’s proposal will take some pressure off refiners and distributors to infuse an unsafe amount of ethanol into our gasoline supply. But even based on gasoline consumption today, the law requires too much ethanol than can be consumed, and therefore still more needs to be done to reform the RFS. We will continue to urge Congress to fix the RFS law for good, so boaters will have fuel that is safe for their engines and doesn’t put them and their families at risk.”

“Clearly the EPA is either incapable or unwilling to make the needed changes to the failed RFS. The agency continues to bow to political pressure from special interests and ignore the unrelenting upward pressure the corn ethanol mandate has caused on food commodity prices. It is time for Congress to recognize that the ethanol mandate is failed public policy that desperately needs to be addressed. Only Congress has the authority to pass legislation to repeal the corn ethanol mandate and end the litany of problems it has created. Consumers, restaurant owners and everyone who eats or sells food can no longer continue to pay the price for the administration’s ambivalence and Congress’ inaction.” 

“The EPA has not met its statutory deadlines to set the biofuels volumes under the RFS since 2009, and this year’s and last year’s compliance volumes still will not be finalized until November 2015. These are clear and continued signs that the RFS, and its implementation, are broken beyond repair. America’s chicken producers are just another drought, freeze or flood away from another crippling year for feed prices. To date, the RFS has cost the chicken industry more than $50 billion in higher feed costs. Fortunately, legislation has been introduced in both the House and the Senate this year to repeal the RFS corn-ethanol mandate, with broad bipartisan support. Congress should take up this legislation and send it to the president’s desk.” 

  • ActionAid's Biofuels Policy Analyst, Kelly Stone, says: 

“Today’s announcement serves as a reminder that the RFS is broken and urgently needs reform. The EPA has tweaked US biofuels mandates based on what it thinks the market can supply, ignoring the harmful impacts that this policy is having on the food security and land rights of people living in poverty around the world. While the European Union has reformed its biofuels mandates, the US government has dodged the issue. Congress must take urgent action to fix these failed biofuels mandates.”

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