By Laura Barron-Lopez - 10/31/13 10:31 AM EDT
More than 100 lawmakers are calling on Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy to reduce the amount of ethanol that oil refiners must blend into gasoline next year.
Signed by 169 House members, the letter sent to McCarthy on Thursday urged the EPA to lower the renewable fuel standard (RFS), arguing the current mandate is unrealistic.
"Whether it’s increasing amounts of ethanol in fuel or higher food and feed prices, the RFS continues to negatively impact American consumers and the economy," Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said in a statement.
"The demands of the current RFS are unrealistic and are causing great uncertainty. As the blendwall approaches, it is clear that this flawed policy is not working," Goodlatte said.
"The growing support from Members of Congress from across the nation and a diverse coalition of outside groups makes it clear that we must consider real legislative reforms to this mandate. In the meantime, I urge Administrator McCarthy to take immediate action to provide much needed relief from the RFS."
Earlier this year, Goodlatte introduced legislation to completely revoke the renewable fuel standard. He spearheaded the letter to the EPA.
"While well-intentioned, the federal ethanol mandate is inflicting significant economic harm on families by driving up food prices, on dairy farmers by driving up feed prices, and on homeowners and outdoorsmen by ruining small engines," Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) said in a statement.
"Administrator McCarthy has at her fingertips the authority to push the pause button so that Congress can reevaluate this misguided policy before more harm is done."
The letter comes on the heels of a leaked draft of the 2014 standards proposed by the EPA. Many biofuel companies say the draft proposal favors the oil industry.
According to the draft, the EPA plans to scale back its mandate for ethanol by roughly 3 billion gallons.
And if the EPA doesn't finalize the biofuel regulation come late November, as it is required to do by law, the oil and gas lobby plans to sue the Obama administration.
The Office of Management and Budget is reviewing the EPA proposal.
And a range of lobbyists are flocking to the White House to be heard in the hopes that they will sway the federal officials.
If the requirements for ethanol and other biofuels refiners must blend into the motor fuel mix is lowered, renewable fuel companies claim it would adamantly oppose President Obama's climate plan.
In the past month, White House officials have held roughly 20 separate meetings with stakeholders on biofuels.