January 28, 2016

Cassidy Amendment to Energy Bill: Repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) released the following statement after introducing an amendment to repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS):


“The RFS is outdated. It was created in 2005, a time when American energy consumption relied heavily on foreign imports. It was thought that the Renewable Fuel Standard would be good for our environment by decreasing the carbon footprint. But in the last ten years, our energy landscape has changed dramatically. We now have more domestic oil than almost ever before and the drawbacks of the RFS greatly outweigh its benefits.


“For example, the Congressional Budget Office projects that Americans will be forced to pay 13 to 26 cents more per gallon if the RFS is not repealed. For a mom and dad with two teenagers, this would be about $400 a year. But it doesn’t stop at the pump. Over the last 10 years, the price of corn has drastically fluctuated. Corn costs have approximately doubled since the RFS began. And the corn price increasing has increased the cost of food. As much as 7-26 percent is estimated per year and it also raises costs all the way down. For example, chain restaurants are estimated to spend $3.2 billion more for the food they purchase and serve to their customers because of the RFS.


“Unfortunately, there are no environmental benefits, but there is tremendous environmental harm.


“Just to begin, an increase in corn production means there is an increase in fertilizer use across the Midwest. That fertilizer runs off into the rivers, goes down into the Mississippi River, hits the Gulf of Mexico, causes algae blooms because of the high nitrogen and phosphorous, that decreases the oxygen in the water, devastating the fish population. If you look at maps of the dead zone, it has continuously increased in size since the RFS was put into law.


“But it’s not just our water quality. Let’s talk about carbon footprint—one of the original rationales as to why we should have renewable fuels. The Union of Concerned Scientists state that certain types of ethanol have a worse carbon footprint than gasoline. So now we have something which increases the cost of food, hurts the water quality in the Gulf of Mexico and the rivers that feed it, and also increases the carbon footprint of the gasoline it dilutes. It’s also been found it actually increases the particulate matter and sulfur in the atmosphere and harms water quality.


“With the abundance of domestic oil, with our increased vehicular efficiency standards, there is no need for the RFS. It is time to repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard and let our famers, anglers, ranchers and consumers reap the benefits.”


Under the RFS, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires fuel sold in the United States to contain a minimum amount of renewable fuels. Since its implementation, the EPA has has consistently failed to meet congressionally mandated fuel levels and the mandate has led to price increases on corn-based products and meat products produced using corn feed. The RFS has also contributed to rising amounts of fertilizer runoff in the Gulf of Mexico, which has decreased oxygen in the water and crippled Louisiana’s seafood population


This RFS amendment was submitted with the Energy Policy Modernization Act (EPMA). The bill will be the first update to the United States’ energy policy since 2007. 


This is one of several amendments Dr. Cassidy is offering to the EPMA.


Read the amendment here.