Government Bytes


Bipartisan House Foursome Reveal Bill to Fix Costly Ethanol Mandates


Yesterday, NTU announced its support for the bipartisan Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) Reform Act, which will reduce ethanol mandates that drive up food and fuel costs. In addition to our letter to Capitol Hill, NTU staff joined a wide range of the bill’s supporters at a press conference to push for this needed relaxation of federal regulation.

This public unveiling of the bill took place on the House Triangle and featured the bill’s four sponsors: Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Steve Womack (R-AR), and Peter Welch (D-VT). Industry leaders, and anti-hunger activists also spoke.

In a prior statement discussing the problems with RFS mandates and their motivation to work together, the four aptly said:

“The RFS debate is no longer just a debate about fuel or food. It is also a debate about jobs, small business, and economic growth. The federal government’s creation of an artificial market for the ethanol industry has quite frankly triggered a domino effect that is hurting American consumers, energy producers, livestock producers, food manufacturers, and retailers. The broad coalition of organizations supporting this legislation echo the same sentiment: the RFS is not working.”

Mike Brown, president of the National Chicken Council, explained how the mandate adversely affects the food industry, raising the costs of poultry feed, and subsequently, the prices consumers pay at the grocery store:

“What we are against is a government mandate that artificially inflates the price of corn, picks winners, and punishes losers among those who depend on it,” Brown said. “Taking half of the corn crop from the food chain hurts consumers.”

Demonstrating how broad the unintended consequences of the RFS mandates have been, Actionaid USA’s Kristin Sundell explained how the RFS Reform Act would help to alleviate hunger by lowering food prices, and set a global example that puts human wellbeing above fuel:

“The Renewable Fuel Standard Reform Act will alleviate some of the pressure that US biofuel mandates are putting on food prices and agricultural land around the world. We urgently need to rebalance our food and energy policies to make sure that people eat before cars." 

As taxpayers and consumers know, it is high time for this government burden to be removed. The RFS Reform Act offers common sense solutions that remove market distortions, help lower food costs and alleviate hunger, and minimize the harm of ineffective fuel mandates that are out of touch with reality. Here’s to hoping Representatives on both sides of the isle join their colleagues and vote for reform.