During the Bush Administration, Congress created a new mandate under which oil companies were required to use a minimum amount of cellulosic ethanol, a scientific term for "payoff to Iowa Caucus-goers," in their annual fuel production.
Refiners had to blend 6.6 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol in 2011. Although precisely zero gallons of cellulosic ethanol were produced, the Environmental Protection Agency increased the quota to 8.65 million gallons. The idea was to create a domestic cellulosic ethanol industry, yet according to EPA data, no such fuel has been produced last year or this year.
Will this sad new get the oil companies off the hook?
The Environmental Protection Agency has slapped a $6.8 million penalty on oil refiners for not blending cellulosic ethanol into gasoline, jet fuel and other products…
"EPA's decision is arbitrary and capricious. We fail to understand how EPA can maintain a requirement to purchase a type of fuel that simply doesn't exist," said Charles Drevna, president of American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, the Washington-based association representing the oil-refining industry.
Good job, Congress and EPA. One way to promote environmental sustainability is to tax carbon — or put a cap on carbon emissions — and allow all clean fuel companies and technologies to compete on a more even playing field.
Option B, you could have the government chose politically-connected industries (ethanol!) and companies (Solyndra!), to be subsided at taxpayer expense, have them fail to develop a usable product and then fine manufacturers for failing to blend their fuel with the aforementioned rainbows and unicorn sweat. Glad we made the right choice!
Tags: Energy & Oil, Environment, EPA, Science & Technology, Solyndra