by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Supreme Court recently taught us that the federal government can tax us for not buying private health insurance. Now Deroy Murdock tells us the Environmental Protection Agency wants to tax — er, penalize — oil refiners for failing to use a product that doesn’t exist.
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. These dastardly petroleum-mongers are being so intransigent because cellulosic ethanol does not exist. It remains a fantasy fuel. EPA might as well mandate that Exxon hire leprechauns. …
… “EPA’s decision is arbitrary and capricious,” said Charles Drevna, president of American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), the Washington-based oil-refining-industry association. “We fail to understand how EPA can maintain a requirement to purchase a type of fuel that simply doesn’t exist.”
“We’ll fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn but from wood chips and stalks or switchgrass,” President George W. Bush said in his 2006 State of the Union address. “Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years.”
So, in 2007, Bush idiotically signed the Energy Independence and Security Act. Beyond prohibiting Thomas Edison’s groundbreaking incandescent light bulb by 2014, EISA’s Renewable Fuel Standard mandated cellulosic ethanol. Under the RFS, refiners had to blend 6.6 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol in 2011. Although this substance is not extant, EPA then demanded to see 31 percent more of it. This year’s quota is 8.65 million gallons.