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Home » Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Agency, Federal Legislation, Federal Regulation, Iowa, Opinions, Policy, White House

The Candidates and Media Are Getting the Iowa Ethanol Debate All Wrong

Submitted by on January 15, 2016 – 12:20 pmNo Comment

by Michelle Ye Hee Lee (Washington Post Fact Checker)  … The Fact Checker will explore an important distinction in the rhetoric over the ethanol mandate that has been mischaracterized by politicians, including Cruz, and even members of the media. The premise set in the exchange above is that the ethanol mandate is “set to expire by 2022.” But there is no actual end date to the program in statute.

Congress created the RFS through the Energy Policy Act of 2005. This law mandated the expansion of renewable energy in the U.S. gasoline supply, requiring increasing amounts of biofuels to be mixed into the supply each year. Congress set the minimum volume of renewable fuel required each year, …

In fact, statutes require after 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency set the minimum levels through regulations. The EPA administrator must use six criteria to set the new standard beyond 2022, such as the impact of renewable fuels on the energy security in the United States and on the cost of gasoline for consumers.

The law also makes it clear that the new levels set by the EPA can’t be lower than the amount required for 2022. [Update: We had written that EPA can’t lower the amount beyond 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel. But EPA has authority reduce the volume. The law allows EPA to issue a waiver to set the volume at a lower level than specified in the law, essentially “resetting” the volume. EPA has not used this authority yet. The Pinocchio Test is also corrected to reflect this change.]

“The statutory volumes under the RFS only go through 2022. For all years after 2022, EPA is directed to established volumes after that time,” said EPA spokeswoman Melissa Harrison.

The program is set to go on indefinitely unless repealed by legislation. And that’s exactly what Cruz supports: a five-year phase-out for the RFS, ultimately ending in a repeal of the mandate.

In a Jan. 6, 2016, op-ed in the Des Moines Register, Cruz argued that he is fighting against the EPA from regulating ethanol, and instead creating a level playing field without the mandate and without any energy subsidies.

There is no set start time to the five-year phase-out in Cruz’s proposal. If elected president, Cruz wants the phase-out to begin when his term starts in 2017, and last through 2022.

“If they did not pass legislation phasing out the standard, as you note, the standard shifts from a legislative mandate to a ‘future rule’ set primarily by EPA,” said Cruz’s campaign spokesman Rick Tyler. “Under a Cruz administration, in 2022, in the absence of phase out legislation, the standard would be set to zero.”

Here are the facts: Cruz wants to phase it out from 2017 through 2022, with a full repeal by the end of 2022. But unless Cruz — or whoever the new president is — is able to convince Congress to repeal the current law, the ethanol program will continue. The current standards set in statute lasts through 2022, and after that, the EPA will decide on the levels from 2023 and beyond.  READ MORE and MORE (American Thinker)

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