WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, used today’s committee hearing on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to call for balanced reforms that consider the concerns of a stakeholders and consumers caught up in the economic and environmental repercussions of this policy.
“The RFS is an important policy that has helped foster domestic production of renewable biofuels, but the current policy is in desperate need of reform. The last changes to the RFS seven years ago were based on critical economic assumptions, like rising gasoline consumption, sufficient availability of corn for fuel and food production, and industry’s ability to rapidly developed truly advanced biofuels that turned out to be false. The status quo is unsustainable, yet full repeal of the RFS would set back years of progress and the promise of a clean energy future and destroy thousands of sustainable jobs in a technology sector that has tremendous promise for our nation.”
“In Maryland, the people I hear from the most are the stakeholders caught in the crossfire of policies like the Renewable Fuel Standard. These are people like, boaters and watermen, poultry farmers, fuel retailers, and others whose voices were not heard during the development of these policies. Maryland’s large poultry industry has concerns with the RFS and how the diversion of 40% of our annual domestic corn crop is being turned into fuel. Corn is essential to raising chickens, because unlike hogs or cattle, there is very little else a farmer can feed to chickens to raise them to market weight. The RFS creates imbalance in the market place for corn. Ethanol producers have a guaranteed market for their corn ethanol, yet poultry has to compete with beef, pork or meatless meals for a place on the American dinner table.
“The reforms that I have been working on for the last several months, with Democrats and Republicans, represent a middle ground approach that mitigates the harm the program is having on traditional corn users, protects the interest of consumers, and assures steady growth and opportunity for truly advanced biofuels from feedstocks that don’t compromise our food security.
“We cannot wait eight years to implement the changes to the RFS program that are needed now. I appreciate the willingness to start this discussion and I hope that will continue to have this debate and perhaps have more opportunities to hear a broader set of perspectives on this issue in the coming months.”