Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Phantom Fuels Act

By Rich Kozlovich
On June 24th, 2012 I wrote an article entitled, EPA: Tooth Fairy Dreams, showing the insane demands by the EPA regarding cellulosic ethanol; fining refiners for not meeting their goals to blend higher levels of cellulosic ethanol in gasoline.  This article helps to confirm something I have believed for years.  G.W. Bush was far from being the brightest pebble in the brook.  As for bringing this idiotic bureaucratic corruption to an end.  This is a good start….Rep. Jeff Flake’s Commonsense Fix for Cellulosic Biofuel Folly, by Marlo Lewis ...eliminating the EPA would be a good ending.   
In his 2006 State of Here is an article that is a needed response to bureaucratic ideologues.   the Union message, President G.W. Bush famously (and falsely) declared that America is “addicted to oil.” As a solution, Bush proposed to “fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn but from wood chips and stalks or switch grass.” He set a “goal” to ”make this new kind of ethanol [a.k.a. cellulosic] practical and competitive within six years.”   Congress heeded the call, and in late 2007 passed the Energy Independence and Security Act. EISA mandated the sale of 36 gallons of biofuel by 2022, with 21 billion gallons to come from ”advanced” (lower-carbon) biofuels, of which 16 billion gallons must be cellulosic.

The Problem
  • [C]ommercially available cellulosic biofuel does not exist.  In fact, the Congressional Research Service reported this year that the federal government projects that this phantom fuel is “not expected to be commercially viable on a large scale until at least 2015.”
  • Even though commercially available cellulosic biofuel does not exist, U.S. energy producers are faced with a vexing ultimatum: buy millions of dollars of EPA paper “credits” or face hefty fines.
  • By February 2013, U.S. energy producers will have paid more than $14 million to the EPA for these phantom fuel credits.
The Commonsense Fix
  • Under current law, the independent Energy Information Administration (EIA) must submit to the EPA by October 31st of each year an estimate of projected volume of cellulosic biofuel to be produced in the upcoming calendar year.
  • The Phantom Fuel Reform Act would simply require that:
    (1) The EIA base that projection on the actual volume of cellulosic biofuel produced between January 1st and October 31st, and
    (2) The EPA’s annual cellulosic biofuel mandate reflects the EIA’s more realistic production-based projection.
The Benefits
  • Passage of H.R. 6047, the Phantom Fuel Reform Act, would prevent millions of dollars in needless and unnecessary energy costs from being placed on U.S. energy producers and passed onto American consumers.
  • It would stop the EPA from forcing U.S. energy producers to choose between buying meaningless compliance or paying hefty federal fines.
  • H.R. 6047 would maintain the existence of the cellulosic biofuel mandate while ensuring that it reflects actual industry production rather than unrealistic bureaucratic prediction.


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