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Inhofe to reintroduce bill to allow states to offer 'ethanol-free' gasoline
May 26, 2011

Posted by Matt Dempsey Matt_Dempsey@epw.senate.gov

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INHOFE TO REINTRODUCE BILL TO ALLOW STATES TO OFFER 'ETHANOL-FREE GASOLINE'

Rachel Gantz

May 26, 2011

Link to Article

Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, will reintroduce legislation this afternoon that would allow states to opt out of the conventional biofuel requirement under RFS2 and would also expand the definition of cellulosic biofuel under the regulation, OPIS has confirmed.

Much of the bill is the same as Inhofe introduced during the previous Congress, Republican EPW staffers explained to OPIS. Specifically, the bill would allow states to opt-out of just the conventional biofuel carve-out of RFS2. The bulk of the conventional biofuel requirement is comprised of corn- based ethanol. Inhofe's bill would essentially allow for "ethanol-free gasoline," the senator previously explained.

Unchanged from the previous bill, the opt-out would be recognized by the administrator of the EPA, who would then reduce the amount of the national conventional biofuel mandate by the percentage amount of the state which chooses to opt out.

According to the EPW staffers, the bill's new language essentially redefines and expands the cellulosic biofuel carve-out requirement under RFS2. Left unchanged is that cellulosic biofuels comprise 16 billion gal by 2022 and that those fuels meet the 60% greenhouse gas reduction threshold. However, Inhofe's bill strikes the term "cellulosic biofuel" under RFS2 and replaces it with "next generation biofuel," defined as renewable fuel that is derived from any cellulose, hemicellulose lignin that is derived from renewable biomass or non-ethanol renewable fuel that is derived from renewable biomass.

The expansion of the cellulosic biofuel carve-out is based on the need "for a feedstock-neutral bucket" under RFS2, one Republican EPW staffer explained.

During an EPW hearing last month on biofuels, the committee heard testimony on the need for feedstock-neutral language to help meet RFS2.

Inhofe's bill has at least one original co-sponsor, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R- Maine), and a companion bill will also be introduced today by Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.), the EPW staffers explained. Bilbray's bill will also see original co-sponsors by Reps. Jim Moran (D-Va.) and Darrell Issa (R- Calif.), the staffers noted.

It's unclear whether this bill will be fast-tracked through the EPW Committee, however the staffers noted "there is a lot of bipartisan support for this effort."

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