The ethanol industry can’t catch a break.
Piled atop concerns that EPA will lower Renewable Fuel Standard levels next year, the renewables industry came under fire today from two Senators who want to cut the corn ethanol mandate directly out of the RFS itself.
Introduced by California Democrat Dianne Feinstein and Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn, the bill is an attempt to address the so-called “blend wall” and to reduce the government’s role in supporting the renewables industry.
In a statement, Senator Feinstein said:
I am pleased to join Senator Coburn and others on a bill to eliminate the federal corn ethanol mandate from the Renewable Fuel Standard, while maintaining provisions designed to grow the low-carbon biofuel industry. Under the corn ethanol mandate in the RFS, roughly 44% of U.S. corn is diverted from food to fuel, pushing up the cost of food and animal feed and damaging the environment. Oil companies are also unable to blend more corn ethanol into gasoline without causing problems for automobiles, boats and other vehicles. I strongly support requiring a shift to low-carbon advanced biofuel, including biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol and other revolutionary fuels. But a corn ethanol mandate is simply bad policy.
Co-sponsor Senator Coburn said:
The time to end the corn ethanol mandate has arrived. This misguided policy has cost taxpayers billions of dollars, increased fuel prices and made our food more expensive. Eliminating this mandate will let market forces, rather than political and parochial forces, determine how to diversify fuel supplies in an ever-changing marketplace. I’m grateful my colleagues on both sides on the aisle are prepared to take this long-overdue step to protect consumers and taxpayers from artificially high fuel and food prices.