Congressman Pete Olson, R-Texas, recently introduced the Domestic Alternative Fuels Act of 2012. The measure seeks to modify the renewable fuel standard to include ethanol and other fuels produced from fossil fuels, like natural gas.
Renewable Fuels Association's Matt Hartwig says it's not only a misguided attempt to equate fossil fuels as a renewable, but to eliminate the RFS altogether.
"It is simply lunacy to suggest that a fossil fuel belongs in any sort of renewable energy policy in the country," Hartwig said. "The fossil fuels industry gives these members a lot of money, they are job creators in their district and so this is pandering to a constituency. I think what is more troubling is this may be little more than a Trojan Horse attempt to try to open up the Renewable Fuels Standard on Capitol Hill with the ultimate goal being to repeal it completely."
Hartwig says trying to modify the RFS doesn't make sense because it's a program that is already working and doesn't need tinkering with.
"They are seeking to go in and attempt to quote-unquote fix a program that has been nothing but successful," Hartwig said. "In fact we are now importing about 13% fewer barrels of oil than we were just a few years ago. It used to be that nearly two out of every three barrels of oil America used we had to get from somebody else. Today that number is below 50% and will continue to fall as long as the country continues to focus on expanding renewable fuel production."
Hartwig says Congress needs to support efforts like the Open Fuel Standard that provides consumers a choice at the pump and eliminates tax breaks for very mature fossil fuel producers.