A Senate Environment Committee aide has told The Hill that the committee will hold a hearing on the Renewable Fuel Standard this fall. The House Energy Committee held a two-day hearing on the RFS last week and it was reported that Chairman Fred Upton has directed his staff to draft RFS reform legislation during the August recess. With concerns from Senate Democrats and House Republicans about the rule – some speculate the planned hearings in the Senate indicate changes to the mandate could be coming.
Maryland Senator Ben Cardin and Delaware Senator Tom Carper worry the biofuel is raising corn prices by requiring corn ethanol production. Environmental groups question corn ethanol’s impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. And the oil industry says refiners are approaching a blend wall in which they have to mix fuels with higher ethanol concentrations. The industry says many cars aren’t built to handle the gasoline and most gas stations can’t dispense it.
But RFS supporters say changes to the blending mandate now would jeopardize investment in next-generation biofuels and stunt economic activity in rural areas. Brent Erickson of the Biotechnology Industry Organization says the RFS has encouraged investment in cellulosic biofuels and progress – with one cellulosic biofuel firm in Florida becoming the first to hit commercial production levels this week. He says current efforts to destabilize the program are short-sighted and motivated by the oil refining industry’s desire to block competition and consumer choice at the pump.
Source: NAFB News service