WASHINGTON- Common sense will prevail if Congress passes legislation to modify the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The Phantom Fuels Reform Act of 2013, introduced today by Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), David Vitter (R-La.) and Michael Crapo (R-Idaho), follows the introduction of its House companion yesterday by Reps. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) and Jim Matheson (D-Utah). This legislation would ensure that EPA sets the RFS cellulosic biofuel requirement based on actual production rather than unrealistic projections.
“AFPM is grateful to the bills’ sponsors for recognizing that this nonsensical mandate forces refiners to pay for fuels that do not exist,” said American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers President Charles T. Drevna.
Under the current RFS program, EPA is required to set the annual cellulosic biofuel standard based on the projected production for the following year. Rather than using the previous year’s attained production level as the basis for a new and achievable mandate, the Agency instead relies upon the unrealistic predictions of cellulosic biofuel producers resulting in unachievable mandates that harm consumers.
Despite three successive years of aggressive mandates, zero gallons of cellulosic biofuels were produced in 2010 and 2011, and only 1,741 gallons in 2012. Yet the Agency continues to mandate millions of gallons, essentially forcing refiners to write EPA a check to comply with a mandate they would otherwise be unable to meet.
Recognizing the absurdity of this practice, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit recently vacated the 2012 standard ruling that the RFS requires EPA to “aim for accuracy” and to reflect what would “actually happen.” Yet less than a week after the Court’s admonishment and after another year of failed cellulosic biofuel production, EPA actually increased the 2013 mandate from the 2012 level. Indeed, EPA today proposed a 2013 mandate of 14 million ethanol-equivalent gallons – 33 percent more than last year’s mandate.
“EPA’s actions make clear that only legislative remedies will constrain the Agency’s haphazard and irresponsible implementation of this unworkable mandate. This bill highlights and would solve just one of the many inherent problems with the RFS, and magnifies the need for Congress to repeal an unnecessary and costly law,” Drevna concluded.