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Pruitt’s RFS Decision Defies Science, Undercuts Development of New Fuels

Statement by Jeremy Martin, Union of Concerned Scientists

WASHINGTON - Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has finalized a change to biofuels policy, lowering the amount of cellulosic biofuel required under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). While political pressure from agricultural interests partly checked Pruitt’s effort to roll back the RFS standards, the cuts to cellulosic biofuels remain a major policy reversal with far reaching consequences.  It’s an arbitrary decision that conflicts with the purpose of the RFS, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Below is a statement by Jeremy Martin, senior scientist in the Clean Vehicles program of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“There is simply no good reason to lower the cellulosic ethanol standard. In making this change, Administrator Pruitt ignored the evidence and analysis presented by his own staff. The RFS is designed to spur innovation and investment in cleaner fuels, but Administrator Pruitt’s change puts those investments at risk and concentrates power over our fuel system in his allies in the oil industry. This decision is yet another example of Administrator Pruitt disregarding science and the public interest to in favor of the interests of fossil fuel producers.

“Advanced biofuels, like cellulosic ethanol, are a small part of the industry today, but they have the biggest potential for growth. Arbitrary policy shifts like this undermine investment in new fuels. The point of the RFS is to cut our oil use and reduce the pollution that causes climate change—this decision undermines that goal and focuses on the interest of the oil industry. It’s disappointing to see Administrator Pruitt throwing an emerging and important industry into disarray. Administrator Pruitt’s job is to listen to the science and enforce the law—not to make policy based on his political preferences.”

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