House Democrats Meet With White House On RFS Targets

Environment & Energy Daily

April 30, 2014

By Amanda Peterka

A trio of House Democrats said they met with senior White House officials yesterday to express concerns over U.S. EPA's proposal for this year's renewable fuel targets.

The lawmakers, all three from Midwestern states and on the House Agriculture Committee, said the agency's proposal to slash the targets for both conventional ethanol and advanced biofuels would hurt Midwestern economies and undermine national energy security goals.

"The EPA's proposed rule would do nothing but undercut a growing American energy industry and further our reliance on foreign oil," Reps. Tim Walz and Rick Nolan of Minnesota and Cheri Bustos of Illinois said in a statement after the meeting. "Biofuels allow us to take control of our energy future, promote industry innovation and create thousands of jobs in the Midwest and across the country."

In November, EPA proposed to require that refiners blend or purchase credits for 15.21 billion gallons of renewable fuels this year, a 16 percent cut compared to the level set by the 2007 statute that created the current renewable fuel standard. The proposal would set this year's targets below last year's actual production of both conventional ethanol and advanced biofuels.

The three lawmakers have previously met with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on the proposal and are among a larger group of Midwestern representatives who have pressed the agency to increase the numbers (E&E Daily, Jan. 16).

Ethanol and advanced biofuel producers have also slammed the agency's targets. On the other hand, EPA's proposal has failed to quell calls by opponents in the oil and livestock industries for Congress to repeal the renewable fuel standard.

The agency is expected to issue a final rule in June. McCarthy has said publicly that EPA may have gotten the numbers wrong, but it's unclear whether or how much the agency will change the proposed targets.

EPA says that it's trying to put the renewable fuel standard on a "manageable trajectory." The agency based the proposal on the limit to the amount of ethanol that can be blended into gasoline, which is known as the blend wall, and on a slower-than-expected ramp-up in advanced biofuels.

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