EPA’s Proposed Rule on RFS (Sen. Jim Inhofe)

Yesterday, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) initiated a draft rule for implementing the renewable fuels standard, as mandated by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.  The act requires producers to blend 36 billion gallons of bio-fuels by 2022.

EPA's proposed rule clearly reinforces the concerns I raised during debate on the 2007 energy bill.  I opposed that bill because I thought it would harm consumers and fail to strengthen our energy security.  A year and a half later few dispute that Congress erred in pushing too much ethanol too fast. Now we're stuck with a proposed EPA rule that magnifies the bill's flaws.

The 600-page draft rule requires the EPA to measure the immeasurable – the increases in CO2 emissions from indirect land use changes due to bio-fuel mandates.  A farmer plants a new acre of corn in Iowa?  Well, EPA will somehow quantify the effect that has on increased carbon emissions in Brazil, Malaysia, or maybe India.  The modeling for indirect land use change is unreliable and unproven and we are now resting huge amounts of investment on the whims of subjective EPA analysis.

Instead of allowing the markets to dictate fuel choice and consumption we continue to subsidize and push ethanol as a green savior.  This overly aggressive ethanol mandate has led to consumer backlash in parts of the country.  In my home state of Oklahoma, one convenience store chain experienced a 30 percent drop in fuel sales once they began selling fuel blended at E-10 levels.

In light of ethanol's drawbacks and this unrealistic draft rule, Congress should reassess the achievability of these mandates and their potential ramifications on consumers, America's energy security, and the environment.