Members of Congress are exchanging dueling fact sheets about corn ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2).
Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) sent an email last month to members of the House Commerce, and Agriculture and Energy Committees calling the RFS “a de facto mandate for corn ethanol” and urging members of the House Commerce, and Agriculture and Energy Committees to provide relief from alleged “unintended consequences” of the RFS. The email included a “fact sheet” blaming the RFS and corn ethanol for “wasting taxpayer money and harming consumers,” “driving more people into hunger and poverty domestically and abroad” and failing to make any progress toward energy independence for the nation.
In response, Congressmen John Shimkus (R-IL) and Collin Peterson (D-MN) sent out their own email and their own fact sheet citing the successes of the RFS and disputing claims in the Goodlatte letter.
Noting that the intent of the RFS is to “enhance energy security, reduce consumer fuel prices by diversifying our energy portfolio, create jobs and stimulate economic activity, and improve the environment” the congressmen said that “by any measure, the RFS is achieving these goals and providing tangible benefits to the American public.”
The Shimkus-Peterson fact sheet takes on each claim in the Goodlatte letter, referring to them as “abusrd” and “false and misleading” and “red herrings.” In particular, they dispute the notion that the RFS has done nothing to increase energy independence.
“In 2011, ethanol displaced the need for an amount of gasoline refined from 477 million barrels of crude oil—that’s more oil than the U.S. imported from Saudi Arabia,” they wrote. “Indeed, as a result of the RFS and increased ethanol use, U.S. oil import dependence has fallen below 50% for the first time since 1997. In 2005, the year the first RFS was passed by Congress, U.S. oil import dependence peaked at 60.3%. Subsequently, as ethanol production has ramped up, oil import dependence has fallen steadily and hit 45% in 2011, the lowest since 1994.9 Oil imports from the Persian Gulf have dropped by some 300 million barrels since 2001, while ethanol production has grown by 300 million barrels during that same period.”
National Corn Growers Association president Garry Niemeyer thanked Representatives Shimkus and Peterson for working to disseminate factual, accurate information about corn ethanol. “These distinguished Representatives demonstrated that they understand what corn growers have long known; corn ethanol provides important benefits to our economy, our energy security and to our environment,” he said.