Trade groups react to Romney's support of the RFS

By Erin Voegele | August 27, 2012

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney recently announced his support for the renewable fuel standard (RFS). On Aug. 23 his campaign posted a white paper outlining the energy plan endorsed by Romney and his running mate Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc. In the paper, Romney said he will “support increased market penetration and competition among energy sources by maintaining the RFS and eliminating regulatory barriers to a diversification of the electrical grid, fuel system, or vehicle fleet.”

Several organizations representing the ethanol and biofuel industries have spoken out in support of Romney’s position on the RFS, including Growth Energy, the Advanced Ethanol Council and the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

Jim Nussle, president and chief operating officer of Growth Energy, said he is pleased to see that Romney has highlighted the importance of renewable fuels within his energy plan. “In particular, his support of the renewable fuel standard and a diversification of vehicle fleets and fueling systems is an essential tool in achieving increased market access for home-grown American energy and providing consumers with a choice when they fuel up,” he said.

Brooke Coleman, executive director of the AEC, also commended Romney for recognizing the importance of the RFS. “First generation biofuels are already competitive with petroleum-based fuels, and next generation biofuels are coming online as we speak,” Coleman said. “The RFS and market access are two critical pieces of the puzzle when it comes to the ongoing development of the domestic biofuels industry.”

Coleman also noted that the AEC hopes that Romney recognizes the importance of the tax code when it comes to domestic energy development. “One area where we hope Gov. Romney will be more explicit is in his campaign's support for parity in the tax code for renewable fuels,” Coleman added. “We cannot have an ‘all of the above’ energy strategy if the…U.S. tax code continues to offer incentives to oil and gas developers that are not being offered to renewable fuels projects. Leveling the playing field in the tax code is absolutely critical to achieving the energy security goals set forth by the Romney Campaign.”

According to Jim Greenwood, BIO president and CEO, the RFS is the bedrock policy supporting the emergence of advanced biofuels. “The United States is at a critical juncture in the development of advanced biofuels, which are poised to make a real contribution to energy independence and security,” he said. “Companies across the United States have made substantial long-term investments in building new biorefineries. The first commercial gallons of cellulosic biofuels were produced this year and the first large-scale biorefineries are set to begin production soon, adding to those gallons. Additional large-scale biorefineries are under construction, with production ready to begin within the next few years. Stable support for the Renewable Fuel Standard at the federal level provides assurance to these companies that their investments will come to fruition. Innovative biofuels have already brought competition among energy sources to the marketplace and lowered prices for consumers. Further, construction and operation of biorefineries will continue to generate new employment opportunities.”