Press Releases

For Immediate Release
October 31, 2013
Contact: Beth Breeding 202.225.5431


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Steve Womack (R-AR) sent a letter today to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy urging her to consider a fair and meaningful adjustment to the ethanol mandate in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS):

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA): “Whether it’s increasing amounts of ethanol in fuel or higher food and feed prices, the RFS continues to negatively impact American consumers and the economy.  The demands of the current RFS are unrealistic and are causing great uncertainty.  As the blendwall approaches, it is clear that this flawed policy is not working.  The growing support from Members of Congress from across the nation and a diverse coalition of outside groups makes it clear that we must consider real legislative reforms to this mandate.  In the meantime, I urge Administrator McCarthy to take immediate action to provide much needed relief from the RFS.”

Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT): “While well-intentioned, the federal ethanol mandate is inflicting significant economic harm on families by driving up food prices, on dairy farmers by driving up feed prices, and on homeowners and outdoorsmen by ruining small engines.  Administrator McCarthy has at her fingertips the authority to push the pause button so that Congress can reevaluate this misguided policy before more harm is done. She should do so immediately.”

Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR): “The RFS is unrealistic, and the EPA knows it.  It is time for the agency to exercise its authority and provide immediate and much-needed relief to American consumers and our economy by adjusting the RFS.”

A PDF copy of the letter is available here. The full text is below:
Dear Administrator McCarthy:
Nearly eight years ago, Congress approved the Energy Policy Act of 2005, establishing the first Renewable Fuel Standard (“RFS”).  In 2007, Congress significantly expanded the 2005 law when it passed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which increased the mandate to 36 billion gallons of biofuels by 2022.  Unfortunately, despite the best intentions of the RFS, its premise and structure were based on many assumptions that no longer reflect the current market conditions, and the imposition of the 2014 volumes now threatens to cause economic and environmental harm.   As Congress continues its bi-partisan work to address these concerns, we are writing to request that the EPA use its authority to adjust the 2014 RFS volumes. As you are aware, the U.S. corn market has been increasingly volatile since the expansion of the RFS in 2007.  This reflects the reality that more than 40 percent of the corn crop now goes into ethanol production, a dramatic rise since the first ethanol mandates were put into place in 2005.  While well intentioned, the rigid nature of the federal law has not allowed it to change as new realities emerge in the market place.  Ethanol now consumes more corn than animal agriculture, a fact directly attributable to the federal mandate.  Corn price volatility is just one example of the economic harm caused by the RFS.

Due to the dramatic expansion of corn ethanol, volatile corn prices have led to the conversion of millions of acres of sensitive wetlands and grasslands into production. According to the EPA's analysis, the lifecycle emissions of corn ethanol in 2012 were higher than those of gasoline – and will be for years to come.  Despite promised environmental benefits when the RFS was implemented, the National Academy of Sciences has noted that overall ethanol production and use lowers air and water quality.

Perhaps the newest challenge is the imposition of the statutory requirement of 18.15 billion gallons of renewable fuels in 2014, of which approximately 14.4 billion gallons will be made up by corn ethanol.  In particular, the combination of rising ethanol mandates and declining gasoline demand has exacerbated the onset of the E10 blendwall- the point at which the gasoline supply is saturated with the maximum amount of ethanol that current vehicles, engines, and infrastructure can safely accommodate.  The EPA explicitly acknowledged this challenge in its final rule implementing the 2013 volumes—“EPA does not currently foresee a scenario in which the market could consume enough ethanol sold in blends greater than E10, and/or produce sufficient volumes of non-ethanol biofuels to meet the volumes of total renewable fuel and advanced biofuel as required by statute for 2014.”   We understand that the EPA signaled its intention to address these concerns in the 2014 rulemaking and commend the EPA’s willingness to use the authority Congress granted to it when crafting the RFS.

While the blendwall is a pressing issue, the federal government can help avoid a dangerous economic situation by adjusting the normally rigid Renewable Fuel Standard mandate down to align with gasoline market conditions and realities.  We therefore urge the EPA to consider a fair and meaningful nationwide adjustment to the ethanol mandate in the Renewable Fuel Standard.  Prompt action by the EPA can help to ease short supply concerns, prevent engine damage, save jobs across many U.S. industries, and keep families fed.  We strongly urge you to exercise your authority and take the necessary steps to protect American consumers and the economy.  Thank you for your immediate consideration of this request.

Full List of Members:

Aderholt, Robert B. (R-AL, 4th)
Amodei, Mark (R-NV, 2nd)
Andrews, Robert E. (D-NJ, 1st)
Barletta, Lou (R-PA, 11th)
Barrow, John (D-GA, 12th)
Benishek, Dan (R-MI, 1st)
Bentivolio, Kerry (R-MI, 11th)
Bilirakis, Gus (R-FL, 12th)
Black, Diane (R-TN, 6th)
Blackburn, Marsha W. (R-TN, 7th)
Boustany, Charles W. (R-LA, 3rd)
Brady, Kevin (R-TX, 8th)
Bridenstine, Jim (R-OK, 1st)
Brooks, Mo (R-AL, 5th)
Broun, Paul (R-GA, 10th)
Burgess, Michael C. (R-TX, 26th)
Butterfield, G. K. (D-NC, 1st)
Calvert, Ken (R-CA, 42nd)
Campbell, John (R-CA, 45th)
Capito, Shelley Moore (R-WV, 2nd)
Carter, John R. (R-TX, 31st)
Chabot, Steve (R-OH, 1st)
Chaffetz, Jason (R-UT, 3rd)
Coble, Howard (R-NC, 6th)
Cole, Tom (R-OK, 4th)
Collins, Chris (R-NY, 27th)
Collins, Doug (R-GA, 9th)
Conaway, Mike (R-TX, 11th)
Connolly, Gerry (D-VA, 11th)
Cook, Paul J. (R-CA, 8th)
Costa, Jim (D-CA, 16th)
Cotton, Tom (R-AR, 4th)
Crawford, Rick (R-AR, 1st)
Cuellar, Henry (D-TX, 28th)
Culberson, John (R-TX, 7th)
Daines, Steve (R-MT, At Large)
DeFazio, Peter A. (D-OR, 4th)
Denham, Jeff (R-CA, 10th)
Dent, Charles (R-PA, 15th)
DeSantis, Ron (R-FL, 6th)
DesJarlais, Scott (R-TN, 4th)
Diaz-Balart, Mario (R-FL, 25th)
Duncan, Jeff (R-SC, 3rd)
Duncan, John J. Jr. (R-TN, 2nd)
Ellmers, Renee (R-NC, 2nd)
Farenthold, Blake (R-TX, 27th)
Fincher, Stephen (R-TN, 8th)
Fleischmann, Chuck (R-TN, 3rd)
Fleming, John (R-LA, 4th)
Flores, Bill (R-TX, 17th)
Foxx, Virginia (R-NC, 5th)
Franks, Trent (R-AZ, 8th)
Frelinghuysen, Rodney (R-NJ, 11th)
Gallego, Pete (D-TX, 23rd)
Garamendi, John (D-CA, 3rd)
Garrett, Scott (R-NJ, 5th)
Gerlach, Jim (R-PA, 6th)
Gibson, Chris (R-NY, 19th)
Gingrey, Phil (R-GA, 11th)
Gohmert, Louie (R-TX, 1st)
Goodlatte, Bob (R-VA, 6th)
Gosar, Paul (R-AZ, 4th)
Granger, Kay (R-TX, 12th)
Graves, Tom (R-GA, 14th)
Green, Gene (D-TX, 29th)
Griffin, Tim (R-AR, 2nd)
Griffith, Morgan (R-VA, 9th)
Hall, Ralph M. (R-TX, 4th)
Hanna, Richard L. (R-NY, 22nd)
Harper, Gregg (R-MS, 3rd)
Harris, Andy (R-MD, 1st)
Heck, Joe (R-NV, 3rd)
Hensarling, Jeb (R-TX, 5th)
Himes, Jim (D-CT, 4th)
Hinojosa, Rubén (D-TX, 15th)
Holding, George E. (R-NC, 13th)
Hultgren, Randy (R-IL, 14th)
Hunter, Duncan D. (R-CA, 50th)
Hurt, Robert (R-VA, 5th)
Issa, Darrell (R-CA, 49th)
Johnson, Sam (R-TX, 3rd)
Jones, Walter B. (R-NC, 3rd)
Kelly, Mike (R-PA, 3rd)
Kingston, Jack (R-GA, 1st)
Kuster, Ann McLane (D-NH, 2nd)
Labrador, Raúl (R-ID, 1st)
LaMalfa, Doug (R-CA, 1st)
Lamborn, Doug (R-CO, 5th)
Lance, Leonard (R-NJ, 7th)
Lankford, James (R-OK, 5th)
LoBiondo, Frank A. (R-NJ, 2nd)
Long, Billy (R-MO, 7th)
Luján, Ben R. (D-NM, 3rd)
Lummis, Cynthia M. (R-WY, At Large)
Marchant, Kenny E. (R-TX, 24th)
Marino, Tom (R-PA, 10th)
Matheson, Jim (D-UT, 4th)
McCarthy, Kevin (R-CA, 23rd)
McCaul, Michael (R-TX, 10th)
McClintock, Tom (R-CA, 4th)
McHenry, Patrick (R-NC, 10th)
McKinley, David B. (R-WV, 1st)
McMorris Rodgers, Cathy (R-WA, 5th)
Meadows, Mark (R-NC, 11th)
Meehan, Pat (R-PA, 7th)
Michaud, Mike (D-ME, 2nd)
Miller, Jeff (R-FL, 1st)
Moran, Jim (D-VA, 8th)
Mullin, Markwayne (R-OK, 2nd)
Mulvaney, Mick (R-SC, 5th)
Neugebauer, Randy (R-TX, 19th)
Nugent, Richard (R-FL, 11th)
Nunes, Devin (R-CA, 22nd)
Nunnelee, Alan (R-MS, 1st)
Olson, Pete (R-TX, 22nd)
Owens, Bill (D-NY, 21st)
Palazzo, Steven (R-MS, 4th)
Pearce, Steve (R-NM, 2nd)
Perry, Scott (R-PA, 4th)
Pingree, Chellie M. (D-ME, 1st)
Pittenger, Robert (R-NC, 9th)
Pitts, Joe (R-PA, 16th)
Poe, Ted (R-TX, 2nd)
Posey, Bill (R-FL, 8th)
Price, Tom (R-GA, 6th)
Radel, Trey (R-FL, 19th)
Reed, Tom (R-NY, 23rd)
Rice, Tom (R-SC, 7th)
Richmond, Cedric L. (D-LA, 2nd)
Rigell, Scott (R-VA, 2nd)
Roe, Phil (R-TN, 1st)
Rogers, Mike (R-MI, 8th)
Rohrabacher, Dana (R-CA, 48th)
Rooney, Tom (R-FL, 17th)
Ross, Dennis A. (R-FL, 15th)
Rothfus, Keith J. (R-PA, 12th)
Sanchez, Loretta (D-CA, 46th)
Schrader, Kurt (D-OR, 5th)
Schweikert, David (R-AZ, 6th)
Scott, Austin (R-GA, 8th)
Scott, Bobby (D-VA, 3rd)
Scott, David (D-GA, 13th)
Sensenbrenner, Jim Jr. (R-WI, 5th)
Sessions, Pete (R-TX, 32nd)
Shuster, Bill (R-PA, 9th)
Simpson, Mike (R-ID, 2nd)
Smith, Chris (R-NJ, 4th)
Smith, Lamar S. (R-TX, 21st)
Stewart, Chris (R-UT, 2nd)
Thompson, Bennie G. (D-MS, 2nd)
Thompson, Glenn W. (R-PA, 5th)
Thornberry, Mac (R-TX, 13th)
Valadao, David G. (R-CA, 21st)
Veasey, Marc (D-TX, 33rd)
Vela, Filemon (D-TX, 34th)
Walberg, Tim (R-MI, 7th)
Walden, Greg (R-OR, 2nd)
Weber, Randy (R-TX, 14th)
Webster, Daniel A. (R-FL, 10th)
Welch, Peter (D-VT, At Large)
Westmoreland, Lynn A. (R-GA, 3rd)
Williams, Roger (R-TX, 25th)
Wilson, Joe (R-SC, 2nd)
Wittman, Rob (R-VA, 1st)
Wolf, Frank R. (R-VA, 10th)
Womack, Steve (R-AR, 3rd)
Woodall, Rob (R-GA, 7th)
Yoho, Ted (R-FL, 3rd)
Young, Don (R-AK, At Large)


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