On Wednesday, Congressman David G. Valadao (CA-21) joined with Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and California Congressmen John Campbell (CA-45), Jim Costa (CA-16), and Doug LaMalfa (CA-1) to announce the introduction of the RFS Reform Act in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) mandates that 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels be part of our nation's fuel supply by 2022. Almost all of these mandates are currently being fulfilled by corn ethanol. In 2011, five billion bushels of the corn supply was used for ethanol -- equal to nearly 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop. While the RFS is causing food prices to go up, the RFS has not provided relief for consumers at the pump. In fact, citing the RFS, the EPA is setting the target for refiners to blend cellulosic biofuels into gasoline higher than the amount of cellulosic biofuels that exists. When these non-existent fuels cannot be blended refiners are financially penalized, which ultimately gets passed on to consumers at the pump.
Congressman Valadao stated, "Unnecessary government interference can have devastating consequences that hurt America's farmers and families. As a dairyman from one of the largest agriculture districts in the United States, I have witnessed firsthand, the negative impact of Renewable Fuel Standard Mandates that are largely fulfilled by corn. These mandates increase feed costs for farmers making it more expensive to raise livestock. These costs are then passed down to the consumer.
Additionally, Renewable Fuel Standard Mandates ultimately divert precious arable land that once produced a variety of crops - to the sole production of corn for the production of ethanol. Reductions in available farm acreage also lead to increased costs at the grocery store for families in the Central Valley. The most recent U.S. Census reported a poverty rate of 14.4 percent in California, the highest of any state in the country. Even more disturbingly, my district in the Central Valley suffers from a 21.9 percent poverty rate.
By reforming ethanol subsidies and unnecessary bureaucratic influence, we can reduce food costs and ensure Americans across the country have access to quality, affordable food."
The RFS Reform Act will eliminate corn-based ethanol requirements, cap the amount of ethanol that can be blended into conventional gasoline at 10 percent, and require the EPA to set cellulosic biofuels requirements at production levels. Renewable fuels play an important role in our energy policy but should compete fairly in the marketplace. This legislation will bring the fundamental reform this unworkable federal policy needs now.
The RFS Reform Act is supported by a diverse group of more than 40 organizations, including ActionAid USA, the American Frozen Food Institute, the American Meat Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Environmental Working Group, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Milk Producers Council, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the National Chicken Council, the National Council of Chain Restaurants, the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the National Restaurant Association, the National Taxpayers Union, the National Turkey Federation, the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, and Taxpayers for Commonsense.