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Bipartisan legislation to repeal ethanol mandate under RFS slammed by RFA

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Two US Senators have renewed their bipartisan efforts to repeal the ethanol mandate under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), claiming that it negatively impacts the environment and increases prices.

Senators Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) have introduced the Restore Environmental Sustainability to Our Renewable Energy (RESTORE) Act, which would abolish the ethanol mandate in the RFS.

"The ill-conceived RFS forces American motorists to buy billions of gallons of corn ethanol each year," said Toomey. "This heavy-handed federal mandate drives up the price of gas and food, damages engines, and harms the environment. I hope all my colleagues will join this bipartisan effort."

"The federal corn ethanol mandate increases the cost of food and animal feed and contributes to climate change and it should be phased out," added Feinstein. "We need to instead transition to advanced, lower carbon fuels for our transportation needs."

Introduced in 2005, the RFS will require refiners to blend over 19 billion gallons of renewable fuel this year, of which around 80% will be met by the use of corn ethanol.

The new legislation has been condemned by president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) Geoff Cooper, who described the bill as ‘ill-conceived’.

“Perhaps Senators Feinstein and Toomey are confused about the RFS,” Cooper commented. “There is no ‘corn ethanol mandate’ under the program and there never has been. Yet, the senators are again seeking to bolster the fossil fuels industry by trying to kill one of the most successful environmental and climate policies ever enacted by Congress. We are confident that, as with past attempts, this legislation will go nowhere.”

Cooper added that corn ethanol has already played a key role in achieving the goals of the Low Carbon Fuels Standard in Feinstein’s home state of California.

Recent data from the California Air Resources Board shows that the use of ethanol was responsible for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in California’s transportation sector by 18.8 million tons from 2011-2018.