Renewable Fuel Standard News: June 25, 2013

Here’s an update on recent news items and other public policy developments relating to the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), and the efforts to produce commercial quantities of cellulosic biofuels which qualify to generate Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) under the RFS.

Legislative Developments


New bill filed that would repeal RFS. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) along with one Democratic and six Republican cosponsors, has introduced S. 1195, “The Renewable Fuel Standard Repeal Act”. The bill would repeal the RFS in its entirety. In a statement, Sen. Barrasso said that the RFS “is fundamentally broken and beyond repair”. The language of this bill is identical to an amendment to the Farm Bill that Sen. Barrasso filed but which the Senate did not consider. Please see a previous post on my Advanced Biotechnology for Biofuels blog for information on other bills pending in Congress relating to the RFS and other biofuels policies.

House committee issues fourth white paper on RFS, subcommittee plans June 26 hearing. The House Energy and Commerce Committee has released the fourth of its series of white papers soliciting discussion on topics relating to the RFS. This paper addresses several energy policy considerations related to the RFS, including its role in enhancing energy security. Stakeholder responses were requested by June 21. More recently, the Committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee has announced a hearing to be held tomorrow, June 26, entitled “Overview of the Renewable Fuel Standard: Government Perspectives.” Scheduled witnesses are from the EPA, the Energy Information Administration, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Look for a report on the outcome of this hearing in a future post on this blog.

House subcommittee hearing on RFS features one-sided testimony. The RFS was the subject of a hearing held on June 5 by a subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. According to the statement of the Subcommittee Chair, James Lankford (R-Okla.), the purpose of the hearing was to “see how we can alleviate the pressure on consumers” from consequences alleged to have arisen from the RFS. The line-up of witnesses betrayed the same focus, featuring three industry representatives from interests that oppose the RFS, and including only an EPA official and a representative of the Union of Concerned Scientists to defend the policy. A good summary of the testimony, and the reaction of biofuel industry spokespersons to the hearing, can be found here.

Senate committee jurisdiction over RFS.  It has been reported that two Senate committees have been jostling for control over the RFS. These are the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, chaired by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and the Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee, chaired by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). The EPW Committee historically has oversight over the EPA and the Clean Air Act (of which the RFS is a part), which administers the RFS, but the ENR Committee has jurisdiction over energy policy, including fuels. Sen. Wyden and the ENR Ranking Member, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) have both expressed the view that the RFS may need to be revisited, while Sen. Boxer has been quoted as supportive of the RFS and skeptical that hearings would be needed to investigate possible changes to the law.

Previous Biofuel Policy Watch posts on RFS policy:

D. Glass Associates, Inc. is a consulting company specializing in government and regulatory support for renewable fuels and industrial biotechnology. David Glass, Ph.D. is a veteran of over thirty years in the biotechnology industry, with expertise in industrial biotechnology regulatory affairs, U.S. and international renewable fuels regulation, patents, technology licensing, and market and technology assessments. Dr. Glass also serves as director of regulatory affairs for Joule Unlimited Technologies, Inc. More information on D. Glass Associates’ government and regulatory consulting capabilities, and copies of some of Dr. Glass’s prior presentations on biofuels and biotechnology regulation, are available at www.slideshare.net/djglass99 and at www.dglassassociates.com. The views expressed in this blog are those of Dr. Glass and D. Glass Associates and do not represent the views of Joule Unlimited Technologies, Inc. or any other organization with which Dr. Glass is affiliated. Please visit our other blog, Advanced Biotechnology for Biofuels

 

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