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Lawmakers Aim To Improve EPA Mandate

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Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Reps. Gregg Harper (R--Miss.) and Jim Matheson (D--Utah) introduced a bill today that seeks to relieve businesses and consumers from an unattainable federal energy mandate.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has required the nation's petroleum supply to contain a blend of more than 20 million gallons of renewable fuel additives, commonly referred to as cellulosic biofuel, since 2010.

However, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service recently reported that cellulosic biofuel is not estimated to reach commercial volumes until at least 2015.

"This legislation simply requires the EPA to rely on actual industry production instead of bureaucratic predictions," said the lawmakers, who serve on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Noncompliance fines are issued to energy producers who fail to meet the EPA's fuel rules. Refiners may also purchase credits through the agency to avoid the fees.

"The agency's current method for calculating these fuel standards leaves America's energy suppliers with two options: pay government penalties or buy government credits," Harper added. "Either way, the cost is likely passed through to consumers who are already paying high gas prices."

Matheson continued, "To date, companies have paid millions of dollars to the EPA for a fuel that isn't commercially produced and those costs are being passed onto consumers in the form of higher gas prices. This is a common sense bill that requires the EPA to take into account actual production numbers and protects business and consumers from unrealistic goals resulting in higher costs."

A recent U.S. Court of Appeals decision knocked down the EPA's 2012 mandate, saying that the agency is not allowed "to let its aspirations for a self-fulfilling prophecy divert it from a neutral methodology." Even so, the EPA has moved forward with its 2013 numbers that increase last year's standards by an additional six million gallons.

The bill will be referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee for consideration.


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