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 Emiel FeinsteinSenate GOP breaks record on confirming Trump picks for key court Deal to fix family separations hits snag in the Senate Election Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas 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.