Don’t mess with the RFS was essentially the message that several advocates of the U.S. biofuels industry sent to Congress last week. Delivered to leaders of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, the letter urged legislators “to stand firm in the face of calls to waive or repeal provisions included in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, including the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).” A copy of the letter is available at http://www.advancedbiofuelsassociation.com/news.php?id=72 . 
Congressional committees are now considering measures that would impact the domestic biofuels industry.
“While there are no formal efforts in Congress yet to fully repeal the RFS, we wanted to make it clear that the continued success of the RFS is a chief priority for the biofuels industry. We believe that efforts to weaken, waive or repeal parts or all of the RFS runs counter to the economic, environmental and energy security goals of the country,” says Bob Dinneen, president and CEO, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).
Brian Jennings, executive vice president, American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), adds, “The ethanol industry is working to proactively reform our tax incentive so that we can open new markets, giving consumers the ability to choose higher blends of ethanol. This, in turn, will create new and sustained demand for corn and other biofuel feedstocks.”
Jennings continues, “While we’re working to reform and reduce the cost of our tax credit, Big Oil is standing on the sidelines acting as if taxpayers aren’t paying billions of dollars in tax subsidies to oil companies every year. We are prepared to sacrifice our tax incentive in exchange for consumer fuel choice, but we are not prepared to give up on the RFS. That is why we signed this letter with some of our partners.”
Along with the RFA and ACE, the other organizations signing the letter were the Advanced Biofuels Association, the Advanced Ethanol Council and the Biotechnology Industry Organization.
“An unholy alliance of oil refiners, food manufacturers and some livestock groups that are overly influenced by meatpackers and food makers are quietly campaigning on the Hill to repeal both the tax incentive for ethanol and the RFS,” Jennings says. “They have different motivations for wanting the RFS to go away—oil doesn’t like that the RFS takes market share away from them and the food/packing industry thinks they are entitled to cheap corn forever.”
The RFA’s Dinneen says that without the strong underpinnings of the RFS, commercializing new biofuel technologies would be much more difficult and would make achieving the goal of displacing oil imports further out of reach. “The motive for many opposing ethanol is the budget—not the federal government’s budget but their ownbottom lines,” Dinneen says.