Congress Grills EPA On 2014 RFS Rule Delay
On Wednesday, December 10, 2014, the House Committee on Oversight
and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care and
Entitlements held a hearing on “Examining EPA’s Management of the
Renewable Fuel Standard Program.” The sole witness was Janet McCabe,
Acting Administrator for Air and Radiation at the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA). A copy of Ms. McCabe’s written testimony is available online.
Subcommittee Members on both sides of the aisle sharply criticized
EPA on its recent announcement that it is delaying issuing a final 2014
Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) rule until sometime in 2015. The rule was due to
be issued by statute by November 30, 2013. EPA renewed its strong support for
the RFS, and explained how it sought public comment on alternative approaches
to setting the volume requirements. Comments received have been extensive and
divergent, especially in light of drastically reduced gasoline prices and lower
consumption, whether and on what basis statutory volumes for renewable fuels
should be lowered, and concerns about the ability of the proposed approach to
provide progress toward achieving continued progress towards achieving the
volumes of renewable fuel targeted by law. EPA intends to take action on the
RFSs for 2014-2016 to provide much needed certainty to investors and others.
Republican and Democrat Subcommittee Members suggested that EPA’s actions on
issuing the final rule contributed to instability in the biofuels market, and
may be cause for Congressional action to repeal the law, an outcome vehemently
opposed by most in the biofuels industry.