Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Tom Coburn (R-OK) have introduced legislation to curb corn-ethanol use and production. The Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2013 eliminates the corn ethanol mandate within the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), an energy policy that mandates the use of 36 billion gallons of biofuel in America’s fuel supply by 2022.
“I am pleased to join Senator Coburn and others on a bill to eliminate the federal corn ethanol mandate from the Renewable Fuel Standard, while maintaining provisions designed to grow the low-carbon biofuel industry,” said Senator Feinstein. Under the corn ethanol mandate in the RFS, roughly 44 percent of U.S. corn is diverted from food to fuel, pushing up the cost of food and animal feed and damaging the environment. Oil companies are also unable to blend more corn ethanol into gasoline without causing problems for automobiles, boats and other vehicles. I strongly support requiring a shift to low-carbon advanced biofuel, including biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol and other revolutionary fuels. But a corn ethanol mandate is simply bad policy.”
The ethanol industry was outraged at the proposed legislation and is fighting back. “This legislation is incredibly shortsighted as it will eviscerate the RFS – the most successful energy policy enacted in the last 40 years,” responded Tom Buis CEO of Growth Energy to the proposed bill. “It will continue to keep us addicted to foreign oil and more than anything, it seems like this legislation is appeasing the wishes of Big Oil and Big Food.”
Buis continued, “Additionally, this legislation is based on false, misleading information. To blame ethanol for an increase in the price of food may make for good rhetoric, but it is completely devoid of any facts to back it up. Corn ethanol is not the cause of high prices; it is the price of oil. Even the World Bank outlined how crude oil prices are responsible for 50 percent of the increase in food prices since 2004. Countess studies have shown that record-high oil prices, Wall Street speculators and the high costs of manufacturing, packaging and transportation are the true culprits driving up food prices.
“Furthermore, the authors of this legislation fail to understand the actual process of how ethanol is produced. Only the starch is removed, while all of the valuable components – the fiber, oil and protein is returned to the food chain in the form of a high protein animal feed,” added Buis.
Bob Dinneen, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), responded by saying, “This is monumentally stupid. This legislation ought to be entitled ‘The Oil Monopoly Protection Act of 2013.’ This bill would deprive Americans of cost-saving, renewable fuel choice. It would set this country back in its quest to gain energy independence and further damage the environment by increasing the need for fracking, tar sands, and off-shore drilling.” Continue reading