Goodlatte reintroduces bills to repeal, reform RFS

Calling it “a true ‘kitchen table’ issue,” US Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) reintroduced a pair of bills to address problems in the federal Renewable Fuels Standard. HR 703 would eliminate the RFS outright, while HR 704 would end the RFS’s corn-based ethanol quotas and bar the US Environmental Protection Agency administrator from approving introduction of gasoline with more than 10% ethanol.

“The federal government’s ethanol mandate has triggered a domino effect that is hurting American consumers, energy users, livestock producers, food manufacturers, and retailers,” Goodlatte said as he offered the bills on Feb. 4.

“Plus, EPA’s continued failure to meet [its] deadlines to set renewable fuels requirements for both this year and last year only creates more uncertainty for those who must comply with this mandate,” he said. “It’s clear that the majorly flawed RFS just isn’t working.”

Goodlatte, who is a member of the House Agriculture Committee’s Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit Subcommittee, said that while he would prefer repealing the RFS, growing support from other House and Senate members, as well as more than 50 diverse organizations, for substantial reforms “is a common sense solution to help curb some of the most harmful effects of this federal mandate.”

Reps. Jim Costa (D-Calif.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Steve Womack (R-Vt.), and 31 other House members were listed as cosponsors of the RFS reform bill, which also would require EPA to set cellulosic biofuels at production levels and bar it from issuing waivers to increase ethanol levels in gasoline to 15%.

Goodlatte introduced the bills more than 2 weeks after US Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.), and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) introduced legislation to remove the RFS’s corn ethanol mandate as an amendment during consideration of a bill to approve construction of the prosed Keystone XL crude oil pipeline (OGJ Online, Jan. 20, 2015).

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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