07 June 2007 22:47 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (ICIS news)--The refining and chemical industries on Thursday blasted a bill aimed at boosting the use of alternative fuels, saying the use of such fuels should be based on marketplace demands rather than mandates.
US Representative Rich Boucher (Democrat-Virginia), chairman of the House Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee, introduced the legislation before the panel on Thursday.
The bill drew a sharp rebuke from the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association (NPRA).
NPRA executive vice president Charles Drevna testified the bill could hurt the automotive and refining industries.
Drevna told the subcommittee that his association opposes the mandated use of alternative fuels required by the bill. Instead, the group supports the integration of alternative fuels based on marketplace demands.
Mandating the use of ethanol and other alternative fuels could hurt refining businesses, which must make infrastructure investments based on projections of the use of alternative fuels, he added.
The bill would raise fuel economy standards for passenger cars from 27.5 miles (44 km)/gal to at least 36 miles/gallon after 2021 and 30 miles/gallon for light trucks after 2024.
The bill also would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing waivers to states that would like to cut greenhouse gas emissions on their own in an effort to create "unified regulations" for carbon dioxide emissions, according to Boucher.
Boucher said the full Energy and Commerce Committee would consider the measure on 20 June. The Senate may take up its bill by the end of next week as well.
"[Y]our timetable is, to say the least, ambitious," said Representative Joe Barton (Republican-Texas), in a statement to Boucher.
"In previous Congresses, energy packages of similar scope took years of discussion, dozens of hearings, numerous mark-ups by subcommittee and full committee, complete with false starts, and work with the other body before they became law,” Barton said. “Your discussion draft, for example, on the fuels and vehicle part alone would be one of the biggest changes in the history of the Clean Air Act."
Barton fears the bill would raise the price of gasoline by $1-1.50/gal.
($1 = €0.74)
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