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NTU Writes in Support of the "Renewable Fuel Standard [RFS] Repeal Act,"

June 28, 2013





The Honorable John Barrasso
United States Senate
307 Dirksen
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Mark Pryor
United States Senate 
255 Dirksen
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Pat Toomey
United States Senate
248 Russell
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senators Barrasso, Pryor, and Toomey:

On behalf of the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I write in support of your “Renewable Fuel Standard [RFS] Repeal Act,” S. 1195.  This legislation would fully repeal the broken RFS mandates entirely, ending the additional costs they impose upon consumers on everything from food to transportation.

In the wake of last summer’s devastating drought, and as refiners warn of the approaching “blend wall,” the original goals of the biofuels mandates as set forth in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 have become obscured by the destructive unintended consequences of these policies. The advanced cellulosic biofuels meant to relieve our economy’s dependence on traditional fuels have not come to fruition. Lack of flexibility and common sense on the part of the law and administrators have caused gallons upon gallons of costly corn ethanol to be mixed with our fuel supply to meet arbitrary standards despite falling fuel consumption.

For taxpayers, the market distortions imposed by the RFS mandates have been challenging. Higher blends of ethanol in the fuel supply increase the risk of engine damage. Ethanol’s lower fuel economy means that consumers have to refill their gas tanks more often, especially painful when fuel prices are already very high. Record-high corn prices have also led to increased pressure on other grains such as soy and wheat, both of which have jumped in prices and are found in animal feed and numerous food products. Experts at the agriculture investment house Rabobank estimate there will be a 14 percent jump in overall food prices in the next year, a historic increase.

With budgets already stretched thin, American families shouldn’t have to pay the price for these damaging mandates. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010 consumers spent, on average, 13 percent of their annual expenditures on food. For poor families, this percentage is even higher, meaning the burden of this government policy falls disproportionately on the shoulders of those who can least afford it. 

After years of economic struggle, American consumers need a break. This legislation would immediately open up the corn market, create a level playing field for biofuels, and relieve the pressure on everyone from food producers to families. S. 1195 would correct a serious Congressional overreach, and NTU applauds you for your concerted bipartisan effort. NTU is pleased to endorse the “Renewable Fuel Standard Repeal Act” and we urge all Senators to co-sponsor this legislation and work toward its swift enactment.

Nan Swift
Federal Affairs Manager