Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Business

November 17, 2013

Donnelly rips fed ethanol decision

Administration lowering renewable fuels standard.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., one of the champions of ethanol in the Senate, ripped into the Obama administration decision announced Friday to reduce the amount of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply for the first time

Administration officials said the biofuel law, championed by both parties as a green energy and fuel independence measure in 2007, is not working as well as expected.

Donnelly said he was “frustrated and disappointed” in the decision to lower the ethanol requirement by nearly 3 billion gallons next year.

“The production and use of biofuels that are grown and developed right here at home helps our economy and increases our national security by lessening our dependence on foreign oil,” said Donnelly. “Cutting the volume of renewable fuels required in our transportation fuel will hurt Indiana workers and hurt Indiana’s economy.”

The fuel standard was first established in 2005 and updated in 2007 to ensure a minimum level of renewable energy use in the U.S. transportation fuel supply. Former U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar, R-Ind., was one of the chief architects of the plan, which oil companies have lobbied heavily against in recent years.

The 2013 requirements were 13.8 billion gallons of ethanol and 2.75 billion gallons of other advanced biofuels. The new 2014 requirements announced by the EPA today would lower the requirements to 13.01 billion gallons of ethanol and 2.2 billion gallons of other advanced biofuels.

While the proposal highlights the government’s struggle to ramp up production of homegrown biofuels that are cleaner-burning than gasoline, is unlikely to mean much for consumers at the pump.

The change would require almost 3 billion gallons less ethanol and other biofuels to be blended into gasoline in 2014 than the law requires.

The 2007 law tried to address global warming by requiring oil companies to blend billions of gallons of biofuels into their gasoline each year. But politicians who wrote the law didn’t anticipate fuel economy to improve as much as it has in recent years, which reduced demand for gasoline.

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