A letter sent Thursday by Reps. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., Jim Costa, D-Calif., Peter Welch, D-Vt., and Steve Womack, R-Ark., asks Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy to decrease the ethanol mandate in next year's renewable-fuel standard.
The letter is signed by 169 members of Congress, both democrats and republicans, and states that the mandate, which calls for increasing amounts of corn ethanol and other biofuels to be blended with gasoline, has caused volatility in the ethanol price market and diverted large volumes of corn away from agriculture.
It warns that increasing the amount of ethanol in the fuel supply will exacerbate the dangers of the E10 blendwall, a marker of 10 percent ethanol blended with gasoline, which the oil and gas industry claims will damage car engines.
In a statement accompanying the release of the letter, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said: "Whether it's increasing amounts of ethanol in fuel or higher food and feed prices, the RFS continues to negatively impact American consumers and the economy. The demands of the current RFS are unrealistic and are causing great uncertainty. … I urge Administrator McCarthy to take immediate action to provide much needed relief from the RFS."
CEO of pro-ethanol group Growth Energy Tom Buis shot back in a statement, saying: "The signatories of this letter seem to suggest that our nation should continue our addiction to foreign oil. Renewable fuels reduce our dependence on foreign oil, strengthening both our national and energy security, while creating jobs that cannot be outsourced and improving our environment, all while providing consumers a choice and savings at the pump."
The letter follows news that biofuels supporters have scheduled a series of meeting with White House administrators to make the case that the ethanol mandate should not be lowered in next year's RFS.