Statement by Ryan Alexander, president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, USDA and EPA announcements on Biofuels
“Today, two federal agencies failed taxpayers on biofuels policy. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released long-overdue biofuels volumes for 2014-16 that by and large neglect to address the broken U.S. biofuels mandate. At the same time, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it plans to provide $100 million in federal subsidies for blender pumps – an unexpected and unnecessary giveaway. While EPA recognized that status-quo U.S. biofuels mandates are unsustainable, EPA’s failure to significantly reduce the volumes of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) will perpetuate higher costs for taxpayers and consumers alike.
For decades, the federal government has propped up the biofuels industry – particularly the mature corn ethanol industry– through billions in subsidies, special interest tax breaks, taxpayer-backed loan guarantees, and a variety of other supports for blender pumps and other infrastructure. Adding insult to taxpayer injury, biofuels enjoy a guaranteed market since production is mandated by the government through the RFS. The RFS mandate was originally intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help achieve American energy independence, but it has fallen drastically short of achieving those goals.
EPA’s decision and USDA’s announcement signal that to end subsidies for biofuels and other energy sources Congress must act. Eliminating the corn ethanol mandate and removing federal subsidies for blender pumps, while making other adjustments to bring overall biofuels volumes in line with market and fiscal realities, would be a large step toward lessening the negative impacts of the RFS. Nearly a decade after the first renewable fuels mandate was enacted, Congress should acknowledge that the RFS is broken and reform cannot wait.”
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