Reps. Steve Womack (AR-3), Bob Goodlatte (VA-6), Jim Costa (CA-16), and Peter Welch (VT-AL), authors of the Renewable Fuel Standard Reform Act (H.R. 1462), reacted this afternoon to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) decision to reduce the amount of ethanol blended into fuel in 2014. These same Members led an October letter signed by 169 House colleagues urging the EPA to adjust the ethanol mandate in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
"Today's decision by the EPA is a step in the right direction that acknowledges that the RFS isn't working, but it's not enough," said Womack. "The RFS is a weight on our economy, and Congress must make fundamental ethanol policy reforms, which provide a long-term solution to this problem and do more to protect American consumers and businesses."
"While the EPA's slight reduction of the RFS for 2014 acknowledges that the mandate is unworkable, it is not enough to provide the much-needed relief businesses, farmers, and consumers need," said Goodlatte. "Today's announcement makes it even clearer that it will now be up to Congress to fix this broken mandate. There is a growing appetite in Congress to reform the ethanol mandate, and I urge Chairman Upton and the House Energy and Commerce Committee to consider the RFS Reform Act as a legislative fix to the growing problems with the RFS."
"EPA has finally realized that it was time to step back and stop gambling our food and energy security on a broken policy. The Renewable Fuel Standard was well-intentioned, but this flawed policy needed to be brought back into balance," said Costa. "There is still more that needs to be done to restore balance to our energy and ethanol policies, but this is the good-faith effort we needed to continue the conversation about the future of the RFS."
"Today's announcement is welcome news and a call to action for Congress to move forward with much needed ethanol policy reform. While well-intentioned, the federal ethanol mandate is inflicting significant economic harm on families by driving up food prices, on dairy farmers by driving up feed prices, and on homeowners and outdoorsmen by ruining small engines," Welch said. "The EPA's decision to lower the fuel standard is a clear sign that this law isn't working. Congress should get about the business of overhauling this misguided policy before more harm is done."
The Renewable Fuel Standard Reform Act would repeal the corn ethanol mandate; cap ethanol use at 10% (E10); and preserve the mandate for the fledgling cellulosic biofuels industry.