RFS hearing and legislation

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Courtesy of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

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.

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