The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Feb. 24 heard testimony discussing the current state of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. At the hearing, critics of the RFS argued that the assumptions upon which the program is based -- continuously increasing motor fuel demand -- are no longer valid and that the RFS should therefore be repealed or substantially revised. RFS supporters testified that the program is needed to increase the amount of renewable fuels in the United States, and said EPA was wrong to lower the statutory volume obligations for the 2016 compliance period.Janet McCabe, EPA's acting assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, said that EPA is balancing two dynamics as it implements the RFS: Congress's clear intent to increase renewable fuels over time to combat climate change and enhance America's energy security; and acknowledging economic and market realities such as the ethanol "blend wall" and lower-than-expected gasoline demand. It is EOA's job to ensure that annual volume requirements are ambitious "but not impossible to achieve," McCable said.
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