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January 22, 2015
Proposed Amendment To The Keystone Bill Would Remove Corn Ethanol from RFS

On January 16, 2015, Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) proposed an amendment to the Keystone XL pipeline bill to eliminate corn ethanol from the RFS called the “Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2015.”  Senator Feinstein stated that the “bill is a simple and smart modification of the Renewable Fuel Standard program. Once we remove the corn ethanol mandate, the RFS program can finally serve its intended purpose: to support the development of advanced, environmentally friendly biofuels like biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol and other revolutionary fuels.” She added that the use of corn for fuel “increases the price of food and animal feed.”  The amendment is similar to legislation introduced in the last Congress by Senator Feinstein and former Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK). While offered, the amendment may not come up for a vote during consideration of the Keystone XL pipeline bill.

 The CEO of Growth Energy, Tom Buis, reacted to the proposed amendment, stating that the “amendment would eviscerate the RFS -- the most successful energy policy enacted in the last 40 years.  It will continue to keep us addicted to foreign oil and more than anything, it seems like this legislation is appeasing the wishes of Big Oil and Big Food.”  The President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, Bob Dinneen, responded to the proposed amendment as well, stating that “corn is less expensive today than when the RFS was passed in 2007.  There is simply no truth to the notion that ethanol has driven up the price of food.  In fact, the UN concluded that food prices are driven more by the price of energy than the cost of commodities.”  So far, the White House has stated that it will veto the Keystone XL pipeline legislation due to “conflicts with longstanding Executive branch procedures,” and predicts that the Senate does not currently have enough votes to overturn a Presidential veto. 

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