US Senate Group Starts up “Seed to Wheel” Review of US Renewable Fuel Standard
by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest) In Washington, staff members working for least eight US Senators will join a study group aimed at a “seed-to-wheel examination of the US Renewable Fuel Standard,” the Digest has learned.
The goal of the study group is to examine which provisions are working, and which provisions could be improved in the 113th Congress. The intent of the study group is to put the key biofuels and RFS elements on the table for a more in-depth discussion and analysis of issues.
The study group, styled “the Biofuels Investment and RFS Market Congressional Study Group,” is planning to commence its work in mid-June, and continue its sessions until late September, when Congress takes its election-season recess.
…The group’s founders: James Inhofe, R-Okla., and Christopher Coons, D-Del.
“I’ve had problems with ethanol for as long as I can remember, and I’m going to be doing what I can to relieve that and do away with the mandate, actually,” Inhofe told the National Journal Daily.
…The group will examine market impacts, environmental issues, food price impacts, feedstocks, infrastructure and logistics, investment comity views on alternative fuels development, and the views of customers and mid-stream and end-users.
The group will commence its work as a coalition of food groups, environmentalists and the oil industry gear up for what is expected to be an all-out, 31-month long campaign against the US Renewable Fuel Standard, aimed at repealing or substantially altering the standard by the end of the 113th Congress in January 2015.
…The working group plans to look at hot button issues, including efforts by companies such as Celanese to permit natural gas-to-ethanol conversion to be included under the RFS, the E10 blend wall, the introduction of E15 ethanol blending. The group also proposes to look in-depth at the financial instruments required to scale up an alternative fuels industry, including venture capital, the role of large strategic investors, tax equity investment, debt financing, and the structure of customer off-take agreements.
Among environmental topics, soil quality, water quality, air quality and biodiversity are on the topic list, while RFS mechanics such as the cellulosic waiver, trading irregularities in renewable fuel credits (known as RINs), and product liability will be examined by the group. READ MORE