On Thursday, a Senate Committee will hold a hearing to examine how the EPA has managed the Renewable Fuels Standard. EPA officials will testify on how well the program is working. Bob Dinneen, with the Renewable Fuels Association, says the RFS program is a good program that has been badly administered, “There is nothing wrong with the RFS that cannot be fixed by what is right with the RFS.” He maintains that it is the way the agency has administered the program that has caused problems, “Neither side likes the way the program has been handled.”
Dinneen says, if the EPA would simply stop caving into the oil industry and just implement what Congress intended with the RFS, the marketplace will solve any problems associated with renewable fuels, “If the EPA would allow the program to work, we will maximize carbon reduction, we will maximize biofuel use, and we will maximize consumer savings.” He added, if EPA would let the RFS work the way Congress intended, the marketplace would solve any issues with supply, infrastructure and innovation, and investment.
The EPA has been slow to approve E-15 and has limited the amount of ethanol that can be blended into the nation’s fuel supply. Dinneen says, as a result, gas prices are on the rise, “We see gasoline prices rising by 4 to 6 cents per gallon. That means Americans will spend over $15 billion or $46 per person over the next 2 years.” He added, under current proposed EPA rules, gasoline consumption will increase by 1.8 billion gallons which will pump nearly 3.2 billion dollars into the pockets of multi-national oil companies. He also predicted that ethanol sales would fall by 2.6 billion gallons because of the limits on the renewable industry that the EPA has proposed.
In addition, he said the way the RFS has been administered has slowed growth in the renewable fuels industry and has decreased investment in rural America, “Tell me how that makes sense. Tell me how this administration that purports to be sensitive to carbon, that suggests it cares about rural America, and tells us time and time again they want to reduce the price of gasoline, can promulgate a rule that will do the exact opposite.”
The EPA will hold a public hearing in Kansas City next week where hundreds are expected to testify on the agency’s proposed new rules for the RFS. Dinneen says it is important that farmers testify at that meeting to send a loud message to the agency about the RFS.