Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Vice Chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, today introduced legislation to limit the EPA's ability to mandate that refiners blend more cellulosic biofuel than is actually available.
According to the most recent available information, there were zero gallons of cellulosic biofuel available in 2010. However, the EPA still increased the mandate from 6.6 million gallons in 2011 and to 8.6 million gallons in 2012. Under the Renewable Fuel Standard, the EPA is supposed to base the mandate on actual projections of production.
The refiners paid $6.8 million in penalties in 2011 for failing to provide a product that does not exist, a cost passed on to consumers in higher gas prices.
This bill (text here) will require the EPA to set the mandate for cellulosic biofuel, in part, based on evidence of how much cellulosic biofuel was available the previous year.
"The EPA is penalizing refiners for failing to do the impossible. It makes no sense to keep increasing the mandate when there are still zero gallons of the cellulosic biofuel commercially available. If the EPA cannot base their mandate on realistic projections, we need to change the law to rein the rogue agency in," Sensenbrenner said.
"Americans are already paying a hefty price at the pump, and the EPA's impossible mandate isn't helping. As the EPA penalizes companies with million-dollar fines, that cost is passed on to consumers. We want our policy to encourage innovation and energy security, but this approach defies common sense and manipulates the law's intent."