Because we apparently don’t have enough evidence of the adverse effects of forcing biofuels into the energy market by requiring traditional transportation fuel suppliers to purchase them, the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency has decreed — oh no, not that they’re going to scale back on the renewable fuel standard biofuels quota — but rather that they’re going to force us to purchase larger quantities of biofuels, whether we like it or not. The Hill reports:
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday raised biofuels targets for 2013 despite an ongoing legal battle with the oil-and-gas industry on the issue.
Refiners will be required to blend 1.28 billion gallons of biodiesel — which EPA includes in its definition of “advanced” biofuels — into traditional transportation fuel in 2013, up from 1 billion gallons this year.
“This action, which meets goals designated by Congress, is another step that strengthens America’s energy security by reducing dependence on foreign oil,” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said Friday in a statement. …
“Over the past three years, we have doubled generation from renewable energy and today’s announcement by EPA will ensure that we are continuing to utilize biodiesel to help meet our energy needs, create jobs and strengthen the rural economy,” [Agriculture Secretary Tom] Vilsack said.
I feel like I am taking crazy pills. How many different examples of the unintended consequences of propping up the biofuels industry do we need before the federal government will admit that they’re wrong? Let’s see. Mandated biofuel quotas (the majority of the market for which is comprised of corn-based ethanol): 1) Produce questionable-to-negative environmental benefits, most notably because they encourage farmers to bring marginal land into production, which in turn stresses the water supply, increases pesticide use, and incentivizes people to chop down forests; 2) Cannot actually survive on their own in the marketplace because they’re more expensive and less efficient — hence why the federal government must mandate their usage — which drives up fuel prices and eats into Americans’ disposable income; and 3) Incentivize farmers to grow corn-for-fuel instead of corn-for-food, which can help drive up food prices, further cutting in on people’s disposable incomes. To name a few.
The suggestion that biofuels mandates are somehow helping to create jobs is downright idiotic. Sure, maybe there will be some more specifically rural jobs created, but across the board and in the long term, mandates like this artificially and unnecessarily make energy more expensive, which means Americans have less money to spend on other things. A.k.a., they make us poorer. And making Americans poorer does not create jobs, it destroys them.
The Obama EPA’s brazen contempt for basic economics is enough to make your head spin.