Recent investigations have highlighted the lack of effort put forth by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to fulfill the RFS mandate. The investigation by the EPA Inspector General found that the EPA has failed to study the impacts of the RFS despite the requirement that the agency do so and submit a report of findings every three years. The RFS was first enacted by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and then expanded by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 to include provisions like the report on environmental impacts of biofuels. The federal agency has agreed to rectify the issue and publish a report by the end of 2017.
The EPA Inspector general cites the importance of the reports, saying that there is bipartisan interest in these impacts so that further biofuel policy can achieved. The purpose of the study is to determine in what ways the inclusion of biofuels in transportation fuel selections affect issues like “air quality, emissions and how renewable fuels have and might be produced, distributed and used.” Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dineen believes that the report will be revelatory for the biofuels industry and the environment saying, “We are confident that once EPA conducts these required studies, they will show that biofuels like ethanol are significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, even above the threshold reductions.”
The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) plays a crucial role not only for American farmers but also for the future of Americans. The mandate requires that the amount of renewable fuel that is blended with traditional transportation fuel be increased each year. Proponents have argued that not only will the system increase energy independence domestically but also expand markets for biofuels.