Senators defend RFS in letter to EPA

By Erin Voegele | January 23, 2014

A bipartisan group of senators has issued a letter to U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy expressing concern over the EPA’s proposed rule to set 2014 renewable fuel standard (RFS) volume requirements and urging the EPA to modify the proposal. In the letter, the senators call the proposal a “significant step backward—undermining the goal of increase biofuels production as s domestic alternative to foreign oil consumption.”

The senators said that if the rule is adopted as proposed it will replace domestic biofuel production with fossil fuels, contributing to greater dependence on foreign oil and reducing U.S. energy security. They also said it will increase unemployment, halt investment in cellulosic, biodiesel and advanced biofuel technologies, undermine the deployment of renewable fuel infrastructure, and threaten the viability of the RFS.

The senators ask that the proposal be revised in a way that promotes investment in next generation biofuels and the infrastructure needed to deploy those fuels in the market. “Without a revised proposal, the EPA’s rule will bring severe economic consequences, and prevent the growth of the renewable fuel sector,” they said in the letter.  

In response to the letter, Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, said, “The EPA should move forward on biofuel policy, not backwards. EPA’s misguided proposal would increase our dependence on foreign oil, drive-up the cost for consumers at the pump, restrict consumer choice and threaten the nearly 400,000 jobs of those who work every day to develop a cleaner, American-made fuel.”

Fuels America also applauded the letter. “We agree that EPA’s rule will bring severe economic consequences and prevent the growth of the renewable fuel sector. It will increase unemployment, raise prices at the pump, and contribute to a greater dependence on foreign oil,” said the organization.

The public comment period on the proposed rule closes Jan. 28. A copy of the letter can be downloaded here.