Bill aims to cut corn ethanol from RFS

By Erin Voegele | July 29, 2019

Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., have introduced that aims to prevent corn ethanol from participating in the Renewable Fuel Standard. The Renewable Fuels Association called the bill ill-conceived legislation that will prop up Big Oil.

The bill, titled the “Restore Environmental Sustainability to Our Renewable Energy (RESTORE) Act,” or S. 2298, was introduced July 25 and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is also an original cosponsor of the bill. To date, no other senators have signed on to support the measure.

In statements released July 26, Toomey and Feinstein claim the RFS forces American motorists to buy corn ethanol, drives up the price of gas and food, damages engines, and harms the environment. Those claims have been repeatedly debunked by the ethanol industry.

“Perhaps Senators Feinstein and Toomey are confused about the RFS,” said Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the RFA. “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.

“It is particularly ironic today that the senators would dare suggest this legislation would ‘restore environmental sustainability’ when in fact it would force more petroleum into our nation’s fuel supply,” Cooper continued. “Whether it’s oil spills in the Gulf, increased carbon emissions, or earthquakes in fracking country, what is environmentally sustainable about today’s oil industry?

“On the contrary, renewable fuels like ethanol reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40-50 percent compared to gasoline, while also slashing harmful tailpipe pollutants like particulate matter and carbon monoxide,” Cooper said. “Economically, ethanol supports jobs in rural America and brings down the cost of gas for consumers around the country. Renewable fuels are a win-win for the environment and consumers, and we invite the senators to visit an ethanol plant in their state to learn more.”

Cooper also pointed out that corn ethanol has played a significant role in achieving the goals of the Low Carbon Fuels Standard in Sen. Feinstein’s home state of California. According to the California Air Resources Board, ethanol use is responsible for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the California transportation sector by 18.8 million metric tons from 2011-2018. That’s equivalent to removing 4 million cars from the road for an entire year or eliminating the annual GHG emissions from five coal-fired power plants.