The Senate Energy Committee today adopted an amendment to its energy bill that establishes a renewable fuels standard RFS of 8 billion gallons by 2012.
Offered by Sens. Jim Talent (R-MO), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Ken Salazar (D-CO), the amendment passed on a strong, bipartisan voice vote.
The amendment establishes an RFS that begins at 4 billion gallons in 2006 and increases to 8 billion gallons in 2012. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) added an amendment to count each gallon of cellulosic ethanol as 2.5 gallons toward meeting the RFS. In addition, she inserted a provision to set aside up to 250 million gallons of RFS demand for cellulosic ethanol beginning in 2013.
The American Petroleum Institute reacted negatively, stating that:
An 8-billion gallon standard would do very little to reduce imports of oil or improve energy security. And, by doubling the amount of ethanol now in the marketplace, the proposal would overtax refineries and transportation systems.
The API would prefer to see the 5 billion RFS standard adopted in the House measure reflected in the Senate bill.
Predictably, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) was pleased.
Adopting an 8 billion gallon RFS into the Senate energy package is a major step forward in displacing foreign oil with domestically produced ethanol and biodiesel.
An 8-billion RFS would represent a 3.8% renewable component. (Earlier post.)