A Week of RFS Face-offs

By Anna Simet | July 25, 2013

This week, the House Energy and Committee Subcommittees on Energy and Power held a hearing on the Renewable Fuel Standard, during which stakeholders—both for and against the RFS—could make their case and explain why the U.S. should or should not continue the policy.

Biomass Magazine news editor Erin Voegele reported on the hearings both days, during which a lot of interesting testimony was presented.

This comes on the heels of a policy briefing held last week by The Hill, during which multiple advanced biofuel industry stakeholders explained their core business and views on the RFS. For the most part, the consensus at the policy briefing was less changes to the RFS, the better.


Well, change—especially sudden and drastic—scares away investors. These companies already have millions sunk into their businesses and are achieving real successes, but implementing a radical change to our country’s renewable fuel policy would stymie their progress significantly, or stop it all together.

This situation is a prime example to those who have referred to the advanced biofuel industry as a fairytale, or wonder why it’s taking a coon’s age to develop, of why, exactly, it isn’t much farther ahead. Just when we’re starting to really gain momentum, there are continued and relentless attempts to yank the rug from under our feet.

I’m not saying the RFS is perfect, and I’ve heard some ideas out there as to how to make adjustments that will better it. But repeal it completely? One testifier actually said repealing the RFS would “level the playing field…” Are you kidding me? That’s a phrase I hear every day in the biomass industry, and I think it’s safe to say that as far as the oil industry goes, it’s been on the top of Mount Everest for a long time.

The truth is that this situation is mostly about money (I said mostly, because there are many people who do what they do because they really care about Earth). Not saying it isn’t important, because people need to put food on the tables and pay the bills, and who doesn’t want to be wealthy?

But no matter what the truth is regarding greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, etc., making big money is more important to far too many people than trying to preserve our planet for our future generations. When you and I and everyone else on this planet right now are gone, some serious—and angry—questions are going to be asked by our grandchildren’s children, and theirs, as to why we didn’t do more.

A century ago they didn’t know what we know now, but today, we have no excuse.