The Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management held a hearing yesterday examining two reports by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) released this week. The hearing included testimony from Frank Rusco, GAO Director Natural Resources and Environment and Janet McCabe, EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation and was chaired by Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), who advocates repealing the RFS.
According to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), the GAO reports “incorrectly suggest the RFS is falling short of its goals to support commercialization of advanced and cellulosic biofuels.”
“This hearing and the GAO reports really miss the point. The RFS has been a resounding success by any measure,” said RFA president and CEO Bob Dinneen, who adds that Congress realized in 2007 that it would take some time to get cellulosic biofuel to commercialization by allowing EPA to adjust advanced and cellulosic volume requirements.
Dinneen said advanced biofuel production is now growing dramatically. “Production and use of advanced biofuels has risen from less than 200 million gallons when the original RFS was adopted in 2005 to approximately 4 billion gallons (RINs) in 2016—a 20-fold increase. That’s a remarkable achievement that simply wouldn’t have occurred without the RFS.”
Dinneen also notes that the GAO reports fail to recognize other factors that impeded more rapid growth in advanced and cellulosic biofuel production, including the recession and financial crisis, lengthy delays by EPA in setting annual RFS volume requirements, and uncertainty caused by oil industry lawsuits and repeal efforts.