Stop Foolish Ethanol Mandates

Posted: Aug 24, 2013 12:01 AM

The problems continue at President Obama's Environmental Protection Agency. Under fire for their leadership using private email addresses to illegally conduct official business and enacting new regulations through coordinated lawsuit settlements with outside environmental groups, the EPA shows no sign of slowing down in Obama's second term.

Last month, in an attempt to deflect attention from scandals at the IRS, the NSA and the embassy in Benghazi, the Administration has turned its attention to the issue of climate change.

At the center of their new environmental policies is the EPA's Renewable Renewable Fuel Standards, which mandates the use of ethanol and biofuels in the production of gasoline. This a prime example of misguided government regulation, as it punishes companies to use a type of hybrid fuel - known as cellulosic biofuel - which does not yet exist on the commercial market. In addition, drives up prices at the gas station for consumers (10 cents/gallon in 2011), while simultaneously driving up cost of food.

Record-high corn prices have also led to increased pressure on other grains such as wheat and soy - both of which have jumped in prices and are found in animal feed and numerous food products. Experts at the agriculture investment house Rabobank estimate there will be a historic 14% jump in overall food prices in the next year. As our economy recovers, this is the last thing struggling families should have to endure.

In 2012, during the worst drought for farmers in 50 years, the RFS diverted more than 50% our nation's corn supply into ethanol production. As corn is part of many foods you and I enjoy every day, even many left-wing global hunger advocates are opposed to the use of corn in fuel. Destroying food to be used in inefficient forms of fuel is bad policy with serious repercussions.

In June 2012, three senators - John Barrasso (R - Wyoming), Mark Pryor (D - Arkansas), and Pat Toomey (R - Pennsylvania) launched a bipartisan effort to get rid of renewable fuel standards entirely. According to Sen. Barrasso, "The Renewable Fuel Standard is fundamentally broken and beyond repair. Instead of delivering meaningful environmental benefits, it's driven up food and fuel costs for American families. This flawed program will also inevitably lead to widespread lawsuits against American manufacturers. When Congress enacts bad policy, the right response is to scrap it and start over."

It is clear that these fuel standards aren't working for consumers or refiners. Policy makers should focus on building more oil refineries and approving things such as the Keystone XL pipeline to transport tar sands oil from Canada into our country. The Renewable Fuel Standard should be repealed.