What’s Uniting Conservatives, Pizza Hut, and Clean-Air Advocates?

Corn ethanol mandates are an area of dispute over the Renewable Fuel Standard.
National Journal
Ben Geman
Jan. 27, 2014, 8:38 a.m.

An anti-eth­an­ol co­ali­tion that spans con­ser­vat­ives, Pizza Hut fran­chises, and clean-air ad­voc­ates is press­ing House law­makers to pare back the na­tion­al bio­fuels man­date bey­ond what the En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Agency has pro­posed.

A let­ter to seni­or House law­makers Monday brings to­geth­er over 30 ad­vocacy groups and in­dustry in­terests such as the Com­pet­it­ive En­ter­prise In­sti­tute, sev­er­al gro­cery and meat in­dustry groups, and the Clean Air Task Force.

The EPA floated a draft plan in Novem­ber that cuts the amount of eth­an­ol and oth­er bio­fuels that must be blen­ded in­to the na­tion’s mo­tor-fuel sup­ply in 2014. The pro­pos­al was a de­feat for the eth­an­ol in­dustry and its Cap­it­ol Hill al­lies, who are now wa­ging a cam­paign to re­verse the EPA plan.

But the new let­ter to the House En­ergy and Com­merce Com­mit­tee’s bi­par­tis­an lead­er­ship from eth­an­ol crit­ics, led by the Na­tion­al Coun­cil of Chain Res­taur­ants, says that EPA didn’t go far enough in re­strict­ing the “un­work­able” eth­an­ol man­date.

It says only Con­gress has the power to make big changes to the bio­fuels blend­ing man­date that’s known as the re­new­able-fuel stand­ard.

“[T]he pro­posed [EPA] re­duc­tion is small in per­cent­age terms and would do little to de­crease pres­sure on corn de­mand or lower eth­an­ol’s share of U.S. an­nu­al corn pro­duc­tion,” the groups state.

“At these volumes corn eth­an­ol will con­tin­ue to provide per­verse in­cent­ives to over­plant corn, dis­tort com­mod­ity and en­ergy mar­kets, and wreak eco­nom­ic and en­vir­on­ment­al hav­oc,” states the let­ter signed by groups such as the Amer­ic­an Frozen Food In­sti­tute, the Na­tion­al Gro­cers As­so­ci­ation, the Na­tion­al Mar­ine Man­u­fac­tur­ers As­so­ci­ation, Tax­pay­ers for Com­mon Sense, the In­ter­na­tion­al Pizza Hut Fran­chise Hold­ers As­so­ci­ation, and the Na­tion­al Tur­key Fed­er­a­tion.

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