Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Speaker, I have long been a critic of the renewable fuel standard and we must act now to fix this broken policy.
While the livestock industry has been witnessing the effects of the RFS mandate for several years, the drought last year highlighted for many the extreme reach of the RFS throughout our economy. But even before the drought, by diverting feed stocks to fuel there have been diminished corn supplies for livestock and food producers. Tightening supplies have driven up the price of corn. The higher cost for corn is passed on to livestock and food producers. In turn, consumers see that price reflected in the price of food on the grocery store shelves and restaurants.
This year, the U.S. is expected to hit the blend wall--where the ethanol mandate will require more ethanol be produced than can be safely blended into gasoline. In order to address the blend wall by reducing the RFS mandate, EPA is working to push E15. EPA has granted a partial waiver to allow E15 blends for model cars 2001 and newer, despite the fact that a study from the Coordinating Research Council, commissioned by U.S. automakers and oil companies, found that 25 percent of cars approved by the EPA to run on E15 experienced engine damage--and even failure. The EPA should not be promoting fuel that is unsafe on the roadways just to meet a mandate.
EPA administrators from both parties have constantly refused to use the flexibility granted to them by law to alter the RFS, so Congress must act. That is why I am introducing two bills that would alter this artificially created government market.
The first bill, the Renewable Fuel Standard Elimination Act is simple; it would eliminate the RFS and make ethanol compete in a free market. The government should not be creating a market to sustain an entire industry. While, I believe that we should completely eliminate the RFS, I recognize that there may not yet be the political will in Congress to completely eliminate this mandate. And while there may not yet be the political will to eliminate this mandate we have to address the reality that we are being confronted and reform the broken RFS policy.
That is why I have joined with several colleagues in introducing legislation to reform the RFS. The Renewable Fuel Standard Reform Act eliminates the corn based ethanol requirements and caps the amount of ethanol that can be blended into conventional gasoline at 10 percent--a level that is safe for all vehicle models. And this legislation will require the EPA to set cellulosic biofuels levels at production levels--oil and gas refiners should not be fined for not being able to blend products that do not exist.
More than 40 diverse organizations are joining us to call for action to address the problems created by the RFS mandate. This is no longer just a debate about fuel or food. It is also a debate about jobs, small business, and economic growth. This mandate has wide reaching and negative impacts on a broad swath of industries. Congress created this artificial market that is distorting the food and feed market, and we must provide relief of its unintended consequences. I urge the Congress to pass this legislation.