The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding leaks in the press about the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard. While the majority of EPA employees were furloughed during the government shut down, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, along with several other of her key staff, remained on the job.
ACE Executive Vice President Brian Jennings points out in the letter, “We understand that the oil industry prefers to continue amassing profits in a market where ethanol is artificially restricted to just ten percent of gasoline demand even though it is less expensive and cleaner than petroleum. Recall, the oil lobby fought to prevent ethanol from comprising even ten percent of the market when the original RFS was passed by Congress in 2005 and they have rebelled against the necessity to blend more than that since the law was expanded in 2007.
Their state of denial about higher ethanol blends was the reason that the waiver language was one of the final outstanding provisions that oil companies tried to weaken as finishing touches were put on the RFS by Congress. They wanted the opportunity for their cuff-linked attorneys to wordsmith and dodge their way out of compliance when the RFS became a real threat to their continued monopoly on consumer pocketbooks.
Simply put, the ‘blend wall’ is not a justification for triggering the waiver authority under the RFS. To the contrary, the purpose of the RFS is to allow consumer access to cleaner and more affordable alternatives to petroleum. To waive the RFS based on the blend wall rewards oil companies for doing nothing to comply with the inevitability of higher ethanol blends, and would take the teeth out of the most consequential policy enacted by Congress to improve the way we produce and use transportation fuel.
Based on the thoughtful and appropriate steps EPA has taken to date to ensure the RFS is successful, we know the Administration would not want to retreat by creating the kind of dangerous precedent that harms consumers by caving in to oil industry demands.”