What follows is my prepared statement for a media conference call I participated in today along with Kristin Sundell, Director of Policy and Campaigns, Action Aid; fmr. Sen. Wayne Allard, VP for Government Relations, American Motorcycle Association; Nicole Wood, Program Manager, Government Affairs, Boat U.S.; Ben Schreiber, Climate and Energy Program Director, Friends of the Earth; Emily Cassidy, Biofuels Research Analyst, Environmental Working Group; and Nan Swift, Federal Government Affairs Manager, National Taxpayers Union.
Ever since EPA, in November 2013, proposed to cut back the 2014 RFS blending target from 18.15 billion gallons to 15.21 billion gallons, the agency has come under relentless pressure from the corn-ethanol lobby to withdraw the proposal.
Hints from EPA officials indicate the agency is in retreat. That is unfortunate. The existing 18.15 billion gallon target would compel refiners to buy billions of gallons more ethanol than can actually be sold as E10 (the highest blend compatible with today’s fueling infrastructure, manufacturer liability and warranty policies, and consumer acceptance).
Refiners would either have to buy what they can’t sell or pay heavy fines and exorbitant prices for blender credits (RINs). Most of those costs would be passed on to consumers at the gas pump.
The political pressure on EPA to breach the blend wall – and the consequent peril to consumers – will only increase over time as RFS statutory targets ratchet up to 36 billion gallons in 2022. [click to continue…]