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March 6, 2015

RFS Hearing And Legislation


On February 25, 2015, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee
on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittees on Energy and Power and Environment and
the Economy held a joint hearing on “The
Fiscal Year 2016 EPA Budget
.” During the hearing, both
supporters and opponents of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)
criticized U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina
McCarthy on the Agency’s implementation of the program. RFS supporters pointed
out that EPA’s delay in issuing the 2014 RFS rule in final has compromised the
stability of the RFS. RFS opponents argued that the RFS itself is unworkable
and that EPA’s implementation of the program harmed the refining industry.
Members of the Subcommittees also expressed concern that EPA was spending too
much time on other policies, including the ozone standard, thus taking away
from its implementation of the RFS.

This hearing occurred in the same week that Senators Dianne
Feinstein (D-CA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) introduced the Corn Ethanol Mandate
Elimination Act of 2015. The bill would eliminate the corn ethanol requirements
under the RFS. The biofuels industry has expressed its strong opposition to
this legislation, arguing that eliminating the corn ethanol requirements under the
law would destabilize the RFS policy and investment in the entire biofuels
industry, including advanced and cellulosic biofuels. In a win for the biofuels
industry, this week, U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
Chair, James Inhofe (R-OK), reportedly expressed doubt that the bill would be
considered by his Committee this year because he does not expect to be able to
build enough support to pass it.