Press Releases

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today called on the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works to consider legislation that would eliminate the corn ethanol mandate as the Senate considers changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard.

“We believe the U.S. should prioritize our agriculture in the service of feeding people,” the senators wrote in a letter to Chairman Carper and Ranking Member Capito. “Additionally, the corn ethanol mandate has increased the price of corn and products made from corn, such as livestock feed. This has made it more expensive for families to put food on the table. Finally, as fuel economy standards and increased vehicle electrification drive down gasoline consumption, the RFS should be updated accordingly.”

Text of the letter follows and is available here:

February 24, 2022

The Honorable Thomas R. Carper
Chairman
Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works
456 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Shelley Moore Capito
Ranking Member
Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works
410 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Carper and Ranking Member Capito:

Please accept this letter to be included in the record for the Committee’s February 16, 2022, hearing entitled The Environmental Protection Agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard Program: Challenges and Opportunities.

As you know, the corn ethanol mandate was originally included in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to reduce emissions, support farmers, and cut U.S. dependence on energy imports. However, numerous studies, including a recent peer-reviewed study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), continue to show that requiring ethanol blending is counterproductive to achieving those goals. The PNAS study, “Environmental Outcomes of the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard,” found that ethanol is at least 24 percent more carbon-intensive than gasoline and that corn cultivation has expanded into 6.9 million additional acres of land, leading to the tilling of cropland that would otherwise not have been used for corn production.

Our bill, the “Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2021” (S. 2385), would end the corn ethanol mandate in the RFS to allow for more productive land use and decreased greenhouse gas emissions. We encourage the Environment and Public Works Committee to consider this legislation as changes to the RFS are made.

We believe the U.S. should prioritize our agriculture in the service of feeding people. Additionally, the corn ethanol mandate has increased the price of corn and products made from corn, such as livestock feed. This has made it more expensive for families to put food on the table. Finally, as fuel economy standards and increased vehicle electrification drive down gasoline consumption, the RFS should be updated accordingly. Our bill would amend the RFS to remove the volume requirements for corn ethanol, while leaving in place the advanced biofuels categories, including cellulosic biofuel and biodiesel. We look forward to working together towards cleaner transportation fuel options.

Sincerely,

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

Pat Toomey
United States Senator

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