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EPA considering change to 2018 Biofuel Mandate

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NCCR Welcomes EPA Move To Reconsider Flawed Biofuel Mandate For 2018

J. Craig Shearman

National Retail Federation [2]

The National Council of Chain Restaurants today welcomed the Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement that it is considering whether to reduce the amount of biomass-based diesel that will be required to be blended into gasoline next year under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard program.

“We are pleased that the EPA is considering further reductions to the 2018 biomass-based diesel mandate and corresponding reductions in the broader total RFS mandate in light of new data on renewable fuel costs and supply,” NCCR Executive Director David French said.

“The RFS is a flawed statute full of unintended consequences, not the least of which has been a sustained increase and extreme volatility in the cost of food inputs such as corn and soybeans, which are integral ingredients in the global food supply,” French said. “The new leadership at the EPA rightly recognizes the RFS’ flaws and is employing fresh eyes regarding use of the authority Congress granted the agency to modify statutory volumes as circumstances warrant.”

“This is a food versus fuel issue,” French said. “The RFS negatively impacts food and consumer prices by diverting precious resources away from food production and into gas tanks. Although only Congress has the power to repeal the RFS and end the numerous unintended consequences it has had on the food supply and the environment, we are gratified that the EPA is finally using its available tools to mitigate the RFS’ damage.”

Under the RFS, fuel suppliers are currently required to mix 2.1 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel into fuel each year, a level that was set in 2016. Last week, the EPA asked for public comments on whether the level should be reduced in 2018.

Enacted in 2005, the RFS created an artificial demand for corn and soybeans, driving up food prices for consumers and introducing market volatility that makes it harder for restaurants and food retailers to forecast costs and make long-term business decisions. NCCR has repeatedly asked Congress to repeal the program.