By TENNILLE TRACY
WASHINGTON -- A fight is brewing over a federal law
requiring ethanol in gasoline, and the battle intensified
Tuesday when the main lobbying group for the oil industry said
it will ask Congress to repeal the statute.
The American Petroleum Institute, a well-funded group with
considerable influence on Capitol Hill, said there are so many
problems with the so-called renewable fuels standard that it is
time to focus on getting rid of it - and not just tweaking
"Given the accumulating problems we see, we think Congress
needs to start over," said API director Robert Greco.
The renewable fuels standard was created by Congress in
2005, and was later expanded in 2007. It requires refiners to
blend billions of gallons of ethanol into gasoline, with the
goal of using 36 billion gallons by 2022. The requirement is
enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency.
API is putting its political heft behind this issue at an
interesting time. The summertime drought withered crops and
pushed up the price of corn, the main ingredient in ethanol,
leading to calls to suspend the renewable fuels standard.
Dozens of House and Senate lawmakers asked the EPA to
consider a waiver, following similar requests from poultry
farmers and cattle ranchers that use corn for animal
Earlier this month, the EPA formally denied the waiver
requests, saying it didn't believe the requirement was causing
The ethanol industry, representing producers and
agricultural companies, says the oil industry's push to get rid
of the renewable fuel standard is a classic case of the "fox
guarding the chicken coop."
"Special interests will stop at nothing to discredit the
success of renewable fuels created right here at home to ensure
their lock on the fuels market goes unchecked," said Tom Buis,
chief executive of Growth Energy, a pro-ethanol group.
Dow Jones Newswires