Clean Air Act and Related Issues - 114th Congress (2015-2016)

Changes to Renewable Fuel Standard

LEVEL Act (H.R. 434)

Background

Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) introduced H.R. 434, the Leave Ethanol Volumes at Existing Levels (LEVEL) Act, on January 21, 2015.  The bill would eliminate the expansion of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that Congress enacted in 2007.  The first RFS adopted by Congress, in 2005, required that 2.78 percent of gasoline sold in the U.S. be ethanol.  Two years later, the annual RFS mandate was expanded to require 36 billion gallons of biofuel (a combination of ethanol and advanced biofuels) by 2020.  Under the LEVEL Act, the applicable volume of renewable fuel for each calendar year would be 7.5 billion gallons.  In addition, the bill includes a prohibition on the authorization of higher ethanol blends such that the EPA Administrator may not, in any way, allow the introduction into commerce of gasoline that contains more than 10-volume-percent ethanol by weight.  Further, any waivers granted prior to enactment of this bill allowing the general use of gasoline containing more than 10-volume-percent ethanol would be repealed.  EPA would also be called upon to conduct and submit to Congress, not more than two years after enactment, a study of the effects of higher ethanol blends.    

Key Actions

January 21, 2015 – Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) introduced H.R. 434, the Leave Ethanol Volumes at Existing Levels (LEVEL) Act, in the House of Representatives.  Comprehensive information on the bill is available here.

 

RFS Elimination Act ( H.R. 703) & RFS Reform Act (H.R. 704)

Background

House Bills Seek to Curb, Eliminate RFS (February 4, 2015)

On February 4, 2015, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) introduced two bills targeting the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).  The RFS Elimination Act, H.R. 703, would eliminate entirely the renewable fuel standard.  The RFS Reform Act, H.R. 704, would retain the RFS, but abolish the corn-based ethanol requirements, cap at 10 percent the amount of ethanol that can be blended into gasoline and require EPA to establish annual cellulosic biofuel levels that match production levels.  Of the bills, Goodlatte said, “While I would ultimately prefer to completely repeal this [RFS] mandate, growing support from lawmakers in the House and Senate, as well as a diverse coalition of organizations, signals that there is momentum this Congress to achieve real reforms of the RFS.  As we continue to work towards full repeal, the RFS Reform Act is a common sense solution to help curb some of the most harmful effects of this federal mandate.”    

Key Actions

February 4, 2015 – Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) introduced H.R. 703, the RFS Elimination Act, and H.R. 703, the RFS Reform Act, H.R. 704.  Comprehensive information on H.R. 703 is available here.  Comprehensive information on H.R. 704 is available here.

 

Corn Ethanol Elimination Act of 2015 (S. 577) 

Background

Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) introduced S. 577, the Corn Ethanol Elimination Act of 2015 on February 26, 2015.  The bill would abolish the corn ethanol mandate of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard.    

Key Actions

February 26, 2015 – Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) introduced S. 577, the Corn Ethanol Elimination Act of 2015.  Comprehensive information on the bill is available here.

 

Phantom Fuel Reform Act (S. 934) 

Background

Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) introduced S. 934, the Phantom Fuel Reform Act, on April 14, 2015.  The bill would amend the renewable fuel program under Clean Air Act Section 211(o) to require that the cellulosic biofuel requirement be based on actual production.    

Key Actions

April 14, 2015 – S. 934, the Phantom Fuel Reform Act, was introduced by Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ).

 

H.R. 1736 & S. 1239 

Background

Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE) introduced H.R. 1736 on April 17. 2016.  Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) introduced S. 1239, a companion to H.R. 1736, on May 7, 2015.  The bills would amend the Clean Air Act to allow for summertime sales of gasoline with more than 10 percent ethanol.   

Key Actions

May 7, 2015 – S. 1239, a companion to H.R. 1736, was introduced in the Senate by Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN). 

April 13, 2015 – H.R. 1736 was introduced in the House by Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE).

 

Renewable Fuel Standard Repeal Act (S. 1584)

Background

Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced S. 1584, the Renewable Fule Standard Repeal Act on June 16, 2015.  The bill would repeal entirely the federal Renewable Fuel Standard.    

Key Actions

June 16, 2015 – S. 1584, the Renewable Fuel Standard Repeal Act, was introduced by SenatorBill Cassidy (R-LA) .  Comprehensive information on the bill is available here.

 

Food and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 5180)

Background

Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX), joined by Reps. Peter Welch (D-VT), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Jim Costa (D-CA), introduced H.R. 5180, the Food and Consumer Protection Act, to “alleviate” the ethanol blend wall under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by capping the total volume of ethanol allowed in transportation fuel at 9.7 percent of projected demand as determined by the Energy Information Administration.  H.R. 5180 would also require EPA to meet statutory deadlines for setting annual RFS volumes; if the deadlines are not met the previous RFS volume under the blend wall would apply.  

Key Actions

May 10, 2016 – H.R. 5180, the Food and Consumer Protection Act, was introduced by Reps. Bill Flores (R-TX), Peter Welch (D-VT), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Jim Costa (D-CA).