Reps ask EPA about renewable fuel challenges

Four members of the House who want the renewable fuel standard (RFS) to be lowered wrote to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ask what problems the agency has faced in writing regulations for the RFS.

The representatives asked EPA Administrator Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyObama won’t weaken car emissions standards Overnight Energy: Rough hearing for Tillerson Trump's pick for EPA chief could clean up Obama mess MORE on Monday whether the agency considers the effect that corn-based ethanol mandates have on food supplies, the infrastructure limitations of producing renewable fuels and the “blend wall” that limits the volume of renewable fuels refiners can put in their gasoline and diesel before the fuels are unusable.

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“Despite the best intentions, the RFS’s premise and structure were based on many assumptions that no longer reflect the current market conditions, and the imposition of the statutory volumes will cause further economic and environmental harm,” Reps. Bob GoodlatteBob GoodlatteSchumer: GOP 'filling the swamp' by targeting ethics chief Justice, FBI to be investigated over Clinton probes Republicans vote to weaken federal regulatory powers MORE (R-Va.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), Steve WomackSteve WomackTrump tweets about flag burning, setting off a battle Students across the country spend their 'summer recess' getting involved in politics After the balloons have fallen MORE (R-Ark.) and Peter WelchPeter WelchFive areas where Trump and Dems could make a deal Overnight Tech: Trump meets with AT&T, Google execs | Pompeo and Wyden battle | Dem's new House E&C roster Overnight Tech: Trump meets AT&T, Google execs | CIA nominee grilled on privacy | Court revives lawsuit over Apple apps | Trump team takes credit for Amazon jobs MORE (D-Vt.) wrote in the letter.

They also asked McCarthy why her agency frequently misses the Nov. 30 deadline to finalize renewable fuel levels for the coming year, a common frustration among fuel refiners.

In its proposal last year for the 2014 RFS mandate levels, the EPA sought to lower volumes from 2013. The members who wrote to McCarthy applauded that proposal and encouraged EPA to make it final.

But they also want to know why the EPA chose to take that path and why it didn’t propose lower limits in previous years, when most of the same challenges were also present.

Those representatives have also sponsored a bill to reform the RFS by eliminated corn-based ethanol requirements, capping the amount of ethanol that can go into gasoline and setting the cellulosic biofuel mandate at production levels.