Bipartisan Senate duo pushes for repeal of ethanol mandate

A bipartisan Senate duo is pushing to repeal a a piece of the renewable fuel mandate that requires refiners to blend a certain amount of ethanol into the nation's fuel supply.

The bill, introduced by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinElection-year politics: Senate Dems shun GOP vulnerables Senators already eyeing changes to 9/11 bill after veto override WH tried to stop Intel Dems' statement on Russian hacking: report MORE (D-Calif.) would repeal the corn ethanol mandate in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) set by the Environmental Protection Agency every year. 

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“The federal mandate for corn ethanol is both unwise and unworkable,” Feinstein said. “A significant amount of U.S. corn is currently used for fuel. If the mandate continues to expand toward full implementation, the price of corn will increase."

Biofuel producers railed against the legislation introduced on Thursday.

“Senators Feinstein and Toomey continue to operate under the misguided assumption that the RFS is driving food prices higher," said Bob Dinneen, president of the Renewable Fuels Association. "Corn is less expensive today than when the RFS was passed." 

The EPA failed to finalize its 2014 volume standards for the fuel mandate, and pushed back proposing volumes for 2015. 

The moves sparked outrage from the oil industry and biofuel producers, and increased calls on Capitol Hill to reform the standard.