By Tim Rudnicki, Esq.
Did you hear the news? The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) is proposing to roll back the amount of biofuels, like ethanol, to be mixed with gasoline. Why? When you dig deep into the rationale it goes like this: because the oil industry doesn’t want to blend more biofuels into gasoline!
Those of us who care about having fuel choice at the pump, saving money when fueling up, keeping the Minnesota biofuel producers that support over 12,000 jobs strong, decreasing pollution and keeping billions of energy dollars in Minnesota need to give the U.S. EPA an important reminder.
• The Energy Policy Act of 2005, from eight long years ago, was the big hint given to the oil companies that they needed to do something about blending increasing amounts of biofuels, like ethanol, into the nation’s fuel supply for motor vehicles.
• Two years later, via the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, Congress went even further to make clear its intent by explicitly stating the increased volumes of renewable fuel that needed to be blended into transportation fuel through the year 2022.
• For 1.5 years the petroleum industry has had another approved fuel (E15 which is 15% ethanol and 85% petroleum) that can be used to meet its volume obligations intended by Congress.
The U.S. EPA proposed rule for 2014 sends the wrong message to the petroleum companies: do everything you can to not comply with the law and the law will be changed so you are in compliance. That’s the wrong message because it gives the petroleum companies a “get out of jail free pass” while undermining Minnesotans’ efforts to use more renewable fuel. The U.S. EPA proposed rule sets the amount of renewable fuel to be used below the amount which is already being used in Minnesota!
To the U.S. EPA we say: don’t undermine all that is important to Minnesotans like having fuel choice, maintaining our strong homegrown renewable energy industry, growing quality jobs, cutting pollution and keeping energy dollars on Main Street. With eight years to prepare for this time, the petroleum industry does not deserve a free pass on fulfilling its obligations under the law. Keep the original renewable fuel requirements and do what’s right for consumers.
If you think it’s important to keep moving forward with renewable fuels, now is the time to make your voice heard. To help you communicate your support for biofuels and oppose the U.S. EPA proposed rule, check out this “Take Action Now” web banner (www.MnBioFuels.org ) for some ideas and contact information.
Don’t let the U.S. EPA take Minnesotans backwards when it comes to our future and quality of life. Let’s keep working together and moving forward for a brighter, more sustainable energy future.