Click here to watch Chairman Barrasso’s remarks.  

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), delivered the following remarks at a committee legislative hearing on S. 517, the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act.

Before the hearing began, Chairman Barrasso made a statement regarding the shooting that took place at the Congressional baseball game practice in Alexandria, VA.

The hearing featured testimony from R. Brooke Coleman, executive director of the Advanced Biofuels Business Council; Jonathan Lewis, senior counsel for the Clean Air Task Force; Mike Lorenz, executive vice president of Sheetz, Inc.; Todd Teske, chairman and president and CEO of Briggs & Stratton Corp; and Janet Yanowitz, principal engineer at Ecoengineering, Inc.

For more information on their testimonies click here.

Senator Barrasso’s remarks:

“Before we start today’s hearing, I’d like to say a few words about the shooting at the Congressional baseball practice this morning.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims and with their families. 

“Based on initial reports, the skill and bravery of Congressman Scalise’s security detail, and the Capitol and the local police prevented a much greater tragedy. 

“It is a reminder that we should never take for granted the skill and dedication

of those that protect all of us here in the Capitol, in our neighborhoods, and around the world. 

(At this time, Ranking Member Tom Carper made remarks)

“Today, the committee will consider S. 517, the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act, introduced by Senator Fischer.

“This bill would amend section 211 of the Clean Air Act which governs the regulation of fuels.

“Specifically, the bill would exempt fuels containing gasoline and more than ten percent ethanol, fuels like E15, E20, and E30, from certain Clean Air Act requirements during the summer ozone season.

“The Clean Air Act sets forth standards for fuel volatility to control emissions of volatile organic compounds that evaporate from gasoline.

“Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) react in the presence of sunlight to create ground-level ozone (or smog).

“The Clean Air Act sets forth different standards for fuel volatility for different areas of the country.

“In general, the Clean Air Act sets forth more stringent fuel volatility requirements in areas that are not in attainment with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (or NAAQS) for ozone and less stringent fuel volatility requirements in areas that are in attainment for those Standards.

“So the principal question at today’s hearing will be: what does this bill mean for air quality and for communities trying to comply with the Clean Air Act’s ozone standards?

“Another important question at today’s hearing will be: will this bill result in more corn ethanol production and, if so, what are the impacts of additional corn ethanol production?

“According to one of our witnesses, corn ethanol has accounted for 87 percent of the biofuels used to meet the Renewable Fuel Standard over the last 10 years.

“Yesterday, the Advanced Biofuels Association wrote that it has ‘deep concern’ that this legislation ‘will be detrimental to the future of advanced biofuels in the United States’

“We also need to ask: what does this bill mean for consumers?

“In addition to exempting fuels like E15, E20, and E30 from certain Clean Air Act requirements, this bill would codify in statute the EPA’s 2010 and 2011 decisions to approve E15 for use in model year 2001 and newer vehicles.

“In Wyoming, folks want fuel with less, not more, ethanol.

“They have seen what ethanol does to small engines and boat engines.

“They worry what fuel with more ethanol will do to their car engines, and who will be stuck paying the bill.

“Consumers, manufacturers, and others are deeply skeptical about EPA’s decision to approve E15 for use in 2001 and newer vehicles.

“Congress, I believe, should not codify it.

“No one should be surprised that I don’t support S. 517.

“But S. 517 deserves a full and fair hearing before this committee.

“I also can’t end my remarks without mentioning another part of section 211 of the Clean Air Act, specifically, the Renewable Fuel Standard.

“I believe the Renewable Fuel Standard is broken and EPA is not in a position to fix it.

“The program is causing distortions in the marketplace and damage to the environment.

“I believe it needs to be fixed.”