New USDA Mandate for Biofuels Should be Withdrawn | Citizens Against Government Waste

New USDA Mandate for Biofuels Should be Withdrawn

The WasteWatcher

When the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its “innovation agenda” to “align USDA’s resources, programs, and research” to help the agriculture industry meet the “climate demands of the future” the first reaction at Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) is that this looks and sounds far too much like more taxpayers subsidies for programs that already exist.  According to an April 30, 2018 Government Accountability Office report, the Office of Management and Budget found $13.2 billion in climate change funding across 19 agencies in 2017.  The GAO reviewed six agencies and found that “94% of their reported climate change funding went to programs that touch on, but aren’t dedicated to climate change, such as nuclear energy research.”  The government should determine whether those are effective and consolidate or terminate ones that are not before creating costly new mandates and programs.

The plan to reach 30 percent for biofuels in 2050 is especially troubling.  The USDA’s historic approach to “market-driven blend rates” has been to aggressively pursue unachievable biofuel mandates that put manufacturing jobs at risk, result in more emissions and create a reliance on foreign fuels.  Ethanol is cheaper than gasoline and does not need a mandate.  If the USDA is truly interested in “market driven” approaches, it should advocate eliminating the renewable fuel standard (RFS) so that renewable energy can economically compete on its own, rather than trying to promote mandates that drive quantities of ethanol-laced fuels that consumers may not want, while putting jobs at risk and raising costs at the pump.

In fact, the blend rate is gradually increasing despite falling renewable identification numbers and small refinery exemptions.  This shows that ethanol is economic on its own and that markets, not mandates, should determine our nation’s fuel mix.

Calling for a 30 percent biofuels goal for 2050 is not something that should be coming out of the Trump administration.  It sounds like an objective of the $93 trillion Green New Deal which President Trump and every free market and taxpayers group including CAGW has said is both unachievable and devastating to the economy.  The USDA should withdraw its proposal and the RFS should be eliminated.