The House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Energy and Power Wednesday kicked off a hearing on the Renewable Fuels Standard, inviting comments from top-level federal stakeholders.
The hearing, "Overview of the Renewable Fuel Standard: Government Perspectives," is complimentary to bipartisan white papers requesting industry input on a range of questions about the current RFS system.
Testifying in the hearing were U.S. Energy Administration Administrator Adam Sieminksi, USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality Christopher Grundler.
Legislators asked questions of Sieminksi, Glauber and Grundler, ranging from ethanol's testing and safety, cost of production and environmental impact.
House kicks off hearings on the Renewable Fuels Standard Wednesday
Mixed opinions on the policy flooded the hearing room, with clear supporters and opponents of ethanol coming out to voice their thoughts.
Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., referred to the RFS as a "Rube Goldberg device" that causes confusion among consumers and the markets alike. If consumers were to dig deeper into the policy, he said, "I think their heads would spin."
Pompeo said mandates like the RFS cause market disruptions – an opinion shared by some livestock groups, like the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, which opposes the policy.
NCBA said RFS mandates are "inflexible" and they are "a burden on cattle producers across the country."
Corresponding with the hearing, the group submitted a letter to Congress members urging support for legislation to reform the RFS, introduced earlier this year by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.
The RFS Reform Act, NCBA said, would provide relief to those affected by an "unworkable" RFS.