Senate Dems: Low ethanol mandate would hurt climate

Two Senate Democrats told the White House that the Obama administration’s proposal to reduce the ethanol mandate would increase greenhouse gas pollution.

Sens. Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerTrucking riders ‘in the mix’ for short-term spending bill Lawmakers praise defense bill's National Guard bonus fix Schumer’s elevation to leader spells trouble for Democrats MORE (Calif.) and Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyThis week: Pelosi's test Dem senators drop objection to FCC commissioner Overnight Tech: FCC chief lashes out at GOP | Obama takes on fake news | Bill would delay new hacking powers MORE (Mass.) said that unlike some of the administration’s other environmental policies, last year’s proposed Renewable Fuel Standard volumes would harm the climate. Boxer is chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

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“A recent analysis shows that the proposed rule would increase net carbon pollution by 28.2 million metric tons in 2014 alone compared to what could be achieved using the methodology that EPA has previously used to set annual [volumes],” the senators said in their Thursday letter.

Finalizing the rule would also hurt a fuel that could be competitive with petroleum, they said.

“Should this proposal be adopted, our consumption of oil would rise, yielding an immediate increase in carbon pollution in 2014 and beyond,” the lawmakers wrote.

The White House is reviewing the Environmental Protection Agency’s renewable fuel mandate for 2014, which has not been finalized despite the year being less than three months away from over.

As proposed last year, the rule would decrease the ethanol that fuel refiners must blend into gasoline while keeping the biodiesel blending mandate the same as the year before, two decisions that renewable fuel makers and some environmentalists have criticized.

Obama administration officials have indicated that the final volumes would likely be higher than the proposal.