WASHINGTON — The Advanced Ethanol Council (AEC) expressed disappointment in the proposed legislation submitted today by Senators Feinstein (D-CA) and Coburn (R-OK) to strip corn ethanol out of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
“If the United States is going to emerge as the global leader in the development of advanced fuels and technologies, the country needs to stop spending so much time looking backwards,” said AEC Executive Director Brooke Coleman. “More than 90 percent of the gallons required for future blending under the RFS are advanced biofuel gallons, yet Senators Feinstein and Coburn are proposing to open up the standard and the Clean Air Act (CAA) to try to kick corn ethanol in the shins. This makes no sense.”
The Council says that the proposal is reckless on a number of fronts.
First, the conventional biofuels industry is a leader in the effort to help commercialize next generation biofuels. “Going after first generation ethanol to facilitate next generation ethanol makes no more sense than going after first generation solar and wind to facilitate next generation solar and wind. It weakens the interest in innovation among existing industry players,” Coleman said.
Second, because the RFS is part of the Clean Air Act, it requires opening up the Act and exposing a myriad of other clean air programs to political attack. “The bigger picture here is in order for this bill ever to see the light of day, the political process requires that Congress would also be having a broader conversation about what else the Clean Air Act (CAA) should be changed. Is that what Senator Feinstein wants?”
Finally, one of the great things about the RFS is the term of the commitment of 15 years. Billions of dollars have been invested with the expectation that Congress will not change the rules in the middle of the game. “This proposal would change the rules, and the bill’s sponsors will not be able to control the political burn – the rule changes would not be limited to those outlined in the Act,” said Coleman.
The Council downplayed the bill’s chances for serious consideration. “There is a growing recognition in Congress that the RFS is really about advanced biofuels from here on out. So it does not make a whole lot of sense to start opening up the CAA and the RFS to political attack to achieve an objective already achieved by existing law.”