This regulation began as a Bush the Younger administration’s EPA attempt to work on an environmental problem now known to be non-existent. Unfortunately, it’s being continued under an Obama administration EPA for no reason other than a cynical exercise in governmental power for the sake of that power.
The regulation in question is the EPA’s requirement that oil refiners mix into their refined fuels millions of gallons of a cellulosic ethanol, even though that additive does not exist. This has the refiners in a quandary because the EPA is intent on fining them heavily for their failure to use this ghost chemical.
Tom Pyle of the Institute of Energy Research points out that
None, not one drop of cellulosic ethanol has been produced commercially. It’s a phantom fuel. It doesn’t exist in the market place.
He goes on
Why would [the EPA] ask them to blend any at all if it doesn’t exist? Because they know that they can squeeze some extra dollars out of them.
On the other hand, the EPA does have the authority to relax the requirement, and apparently they’re in the process of that. The cellulosic ethanol blending requirement is, supposedly, being reduced by 98%. Thus, in the end, the refiners only need to use 2% of this non-existent additive compared to their original requirement. There’s a break. Charles Drevna, representing refiners, has the right of this.
[The EPA is] forcing us to use a product that doesn’t exist; they might as well tell us to use unicorns.
We’ve had to go to the courts and litigate this thing is because [the EPA] just turned a blind eye to us[.]
They have to because that mandate, the potential per centage reduction notwithstanding, just gets larger and larger: 500 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol this year, 3 billion in 2015, and 16 billion in 2022. Never mind that nobody is making this stuff.
It shouldn’t have come to this.