CFIF has filed an official comment with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), opposing its attempt to impose a Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that constitutes a destructive form of anti-trade protectionism by arbitrarily discriminating against palm oil-based biofuel on the basis of dubious scientific analysis.
While CFIF opposes federal RFS mandates generally, the EPA’s existing RFS palm oil decision amounts to trade protectionism with potentially toxic effects that the Agency must deliberate. Not only does that decision violate America’s free trade commitments with the World Trade Organization (WTO), it will result in higher energy costs and fewer choices for American consumers. “The policy deprives American energy consumers of a fuller range of choices in the energy market,” our comment observes, “and it privileges certain well-connected domestic producer groups, ultimately raising costs and limiting choices for all Americans.” CFIF concludes, “It is also a hostile affront to longstanding American allies who have invested in plantation agriculture as a means of developing export markets to generate critical economic growth, thereby undermining U.S. support for greater global prosperity and poverty abatement. ”
Rather than position itself as some sort of gatekeeper of alternative energy sources, the EPA should instead institute policies that permit entrepreneurial market forces to respond to consumer demands and determine the ultimate contours and direction of the energy sector. During a period of rising energy costs, this encroachment upon the individual freedoms of citizens and private businesses is unjustifiable and should be withdrawn.