Sen. Stabenow criticizes proposed EPA fuel mandate

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) on Friday vehemently opposed a move by the administration to scale back the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Several lawmakers spoke out after the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a cut to the amount of ethanol refiners must blend into their fuel supply.

Stabenow said the proposal, which sets fuel volumes under 10 percent of the expected gasoline consumption, would "pull the rug out from underneath" an energy sector capable of creating thousands of jobs.

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"The so-called blend wall is a crisis manufactured by the oil industry, which is interested in eliminating the competition so they can continue reaping even greater windfall profits," Stabenow said in a statement on Friday.

"The proposed rule could cost thousands of good paying, clean energy jobs and mean less competition at the pump. I urge the administration to take a hard look at how this could seriously set back growth at a crucial time when tremendous progress is being made toward commercial-scale production of advanced biofuels."

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who introduced a bill earlier this year with Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.) and others aimed at reforming the renewable fuel mandate, sent out a uniform response on Friday with other House lawmakers.

"Today’s announcement makes it even clearer that it will now be up to Congress to fix this broken mandate," Goodlatte said in a statement.  

"There is a growing appetite in Congress to reform the ethanol mandate, and I urge Chairman Upton and the House Energy and Commerce Committee to consider the RFS Reform Act (H.R. 1462) as a legislative fix to the growing problems with the RFS."

Sen. David Vitter (La.) chimed in as well. The GOP senator alluded to the multiple clean energy mandates the Obama administration has received heavy criticisms on from Republicans.

"The RFS remains a fundamentally flawed program that limps along year after year, wreaking havoc on those required to participate, including the American consumer," Vitter said in a statement on Friday.

"The administration needs to quit slapping unrealistic mandates on everything and start doing what's right for our slumping economy."

The Hill's Ben Geman has more on the EPA proposal released on Friday here.

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