The battle over ethanol continues to rage as the Environmental Protection Agency prepares to release the 2014 renewable-fuel standard, a mandate determining the amount of biofuel refiners will be required to blend with gasoline next year.
Both supporters and opponents of the biofuels mandate have been making their cases before the public and the administration for months. Now, however, lawmakers are increasingly adding their voices to the conversation in an attempt to wrest power away from the agency and back to Congress.
Last Thursday, Reps. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., Jim Costa, D-Calif., Peter Welch, D-Vt., and Steve Womack, R-Ark., sent a letter signed by a bipartisan group of 165 additional lawmakers from the House to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy asking for reduced requirements for corn ethanol next year.
The letter argues that the renewable-fuels standard raises corn prices and could damage car engines when the E10 blendwall — the point at which gasoline blends exceed 10 percent ethanol — is reached.
The letter defers to the EPA's authority to carry out the recommendation. But in an interview with National Journal Daily, Welch emphasized that while he and other lawmakers want EPA to revise the mandate downward, RFS reform is an issue that should ultimately be decided by Congress.