Mixed emotions are emanating from the introduction of the “Foreign Fuels Reduction Act,” introduced by U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn). The legislation would allow only domestically-sourced fuels to be used to meet the requirements of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
“It is time for America to create an all-of-the-above energy policy that will help lead us to energy independence,” Manchin said. “It’s simply common sense to use all of our resources, and that includes non-food based biofuels. I am proud to cosponsor this bill with my good friend Senator Bob Corker to make sure that we continue to develop domestic non-food based biofuels while stopping the current system’s incentives to import food-based ethanol products from foreign countries.”
According to Corker, the RFS is having some unintended consequences. “This bill is a common sense step toward potentially mitigating gasoline price increases the RFS may contribute to in the near future,” he said. “Because its mandated biofuels volumes are too high, the RFS is also unintentionally incentivizing ethanol imports. Our bill helps to correct that problem by more properly aligning mandated levels with what we produce domestically.”
The potential challenge with the bill? It would require a reduction in the volume of cellulosic biofuel required under the RFS. It would also result in a pro rata reduction to the total volume of renewable fuel and advanced biofuels,a fight many anti-biofuel camps have been engaged in for years. While this would “ensure” only domestically produced biofuels are used, it would lower the total amount required until production levels ramp up significantly.
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