(Posted Fri. Jun 28th, 2013)
June 28: The ethanol industry was kept busy this week in Washington as the Renewable Fuel Standard was a focus of events on Capitol Hill and the White House. During a speech outlining new climate change initiatives, President Obama voiced his support of the Renewable Fuel Standard. At the same time on Capitol Hill, the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power held a hearing with some members urging an outright repeal.
“Having two completely different views and messages coming out on the RFS within days of each other just goes to show there is still work to be done,” NCGA President Pam Johnson said. “Next week, members of Congress return home for the July 4th recess. This provides an excellent opportunity for every farmer to meet with their lawmakers and outline how the ethanol industry has made a positive impact on their lives.”
The president’s plan specifically states that the “Administration supports the Renewable Fuels Standard, and is investing in research and development to help bring next-generation biofuels on line.” The FY 2014 President’s Budget increases funding for clean energy technology across all agencies by 30 percent, to approximately $7.9 billion, and directs the White House Domestic Policy Council and Department of Energy to conduct a Quadrennial Energy Review to ensure that federal energy policy goals are met.
In its first hearing on the RFS since 2007, members of the House Subcommittee focused on an overview of the program from a government perspective. The Full Committee and Subcommittee Ranking Members spoke in favor of the RFS, applauding the number of jobs the industry had created and reducing our reliance on foreign oil. Other members, however, called for an outright repeal of the RFS, citing concerns with inaccurate projections of future gasoline usage. Witnesses included officials from the Energy Information Administration, Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture. The next hearing on this issue will most likely be in July.