Ethanol Standard Debated as Oil Prices Rise

Cindy Zimmerman

House EnergyAs the House Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality heard testimony regarding the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) on Tuesday, oil hit yet another record high of $122 a barrel.

Renewable Fuels Association
president Bob Dinneen reminded the committee of that several times during the hearing, having to correct his own pre-prepared remarks. “Mr. Chairman, the RFS made sense when you passed it in December and prices were $90 a barrel,” Dinneen said. “It makes more sense today with crude oil prices at $120 a barrel. I’m sorry, just while this hearing has been going on, the market has increased and we’re now looking at $122 a barrel oil.”

“Ethanol is the only tool we have today that can address the nation’s most serious economic issue – our dependence on imported oil and the rising price of gasoline and crude oil,” he said.

EPAEnvironmental Protection Agency Deputy Assistant Administrator Robert Meyers told the hearing that the request by Texas for a waiver of the RFS will go through the administrative process required by law.

“It’s our intent to shortly issue a federal register notice on this matter and establish a docket to receive public comments,” Meyers said. “EPA is required under the Clean Air Act to approve or disapprove a state petition within 90 days of receiving it.”

Besides Dinneen and Meyers, other witnesses on the issue included Nathaneal Greene with the Natural Resources Defense Council, Charles Drevna with the National Petrochemical and Refiners, Randy Kremer of cellulosic ethanol producer KL Process Design Group, Scott Faber with the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Rick Tolman with the National Corn Growers Association, Dr. Mark Stowers with POET, and Gawain Kripke of the food aid group Oxfam America.

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