Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton DTN Ag Policy Editor

Wednesday 02/27/13

Battle Rages on E15
Though the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved the use of E15 in vehicles 2001 and newer the ultimate fate of the fuel that is struggling to gain market traction could be determined by an ongoing battle in Washington.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 11:23AM CST 02/27/13 by Todd Neeley | Post a Comment
Comments (3)
Defying Courts And Congress, EPA Ups Mandate For Nonexistent Fuels INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY Energy: In yet another green folly, the lawless Environmental Protection Agency continues to fine gasoline producers for not using cellulosic biofuels in quantities that don't exist, making only more pain at the pump. Last month, a federal court dealt a serious blow to the Environmental Protection Agency's renewable fuels push by ruling that the agency exceeded its authority by mandating refiners use cellulosic biofuels, which aren't commercially available. The EPA's lawless response in a lawless administration was to raise its requirements. In 2005 and 2007, Congress twice amended the Clean Air Act to establish a renewable fuel standard (RFS) that included a mandate to use cellulosic biofuels. If refiners failed to meet the goals, the EPA could fine them. The RFS set ambitious goals for cellulosic biofuels but at least charged the EPA with reducing the requirement if production was lower than the mandate. This the EPA simply ignored, issuing fines for failing to use this biofuel when it wasn't even available. As Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner points out in Politico, 2010, the first year of the mandate, the EPA projected 5 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels would be available. In fact, there were none. In 2011, the EPA increased the mandate to 6.5 million gallons. Again, the actual amount available was zero. Undeterred, in 2012, the EPA increased the required amount to 8.5 million gallons. The actual available amount was 25,000 gallons. This absurdity prompted the American Petroleum Institute (API) to file a lawsuit last year challenging the EPA's rulemaking. The API petitioned the court to review the EPA's January 2012 RFS. On Jan. 25, 2013, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed the EPA had exceeded its authority. "(W)e agree with API that EPA's 2012 projection of cellulosic biofuel production was in excess of the agency's statutory authority," reads the court decision. The court further told the agency: "The EPA points to no instance in which the term 'projected' is used to allow the projector to let its aspiration for a self-fulfilling prophecy divert it from a neutral methodology." The agency's response to the court's ruling, Sensenbrenner notes, was to nearly double its 2013 mandate from 8.5 million gallons to 14 million gallons. Different from corn- or sugar-based ethanol â?” which have questionable benefits â?” cellulosic ethanol is made from wood chips, switch grass and agricultural waste, such as corncobs. The EPA's requirement for 14 million gallons of the stuff is about as realistic as that trillion-dollar coin some have proposed to solve our fiscal problems. Sensenbrenner believes the EPA's policies and intransigence in the face of the law and reality are deliberate. In response to a letter he sent to the agency, the EPA wrote, "the standard that we set helps drive the production of volumes that will be made available." In other words, the Obama administration's environmental goals trump the law, the courts and industry capacity. If you can't meet our unrealistic goal, the EPA says, too bad. Just pass the costs on to the consumer, something for which the consumer will blame you, not us. As Tom Pyle of the Institute for Energy Research says, "the cellulosic biofuel program is the embodiment of government gone wild." Charles Drevna, President of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), a group of refiners, adds, "forcing us to use a product that doesn't exist, they might as well tell us to use unicorns." Of course, this comes from an Obama administration that insists we put more and more food in our tanks in the form of corn ethanol, even if it raises food prices, or produces less energy than a gallon of gasoline, and increases agricultural runoff into streams and rivers. It mandates the use of costly seasonal and regional blends. And don't forget algae â?” the energy source of the future.
Posted by Lon Truly at 12:25PM CST 02/27/13
Thank you Lon, your article surely shows the sad situation the poor oil corporations are up against in Washington. We all know that the real world is where we live, oil spills, carbon emissions, tar sand excavation, mountain top removal for coal,,, all needed to make a buck. Without full reign of capitalist gain there is no way corporations can make enough money to give us $7/hr jobs! Wind, solar, geothermal, electric cars is just pie in the sky, we need less regulation of fossil fuels so we can live like the Chineese.
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 7:19AM CST 02/28/13
Continue Jay. Not just the mountain top for coal but the whole mountain to get enough rare earths to manufacture a storage battery to get to the coffee shop at the expense of the taxpayer to afford garnering more facts of coffee shop knowledge.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 7:20PM CST 03/01/13
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