EPA finalizes renewable-fuel standard, evaluates emissions ruling

With much fanfare, the Bush administration has finalized a renewable-fuel standard for cars and trucks. The rule, mandated by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, requires 4.7 billion gallons of motor fuel — a little more than 4 percent of the total produced — to come from renewable sources this year, increasing to 7.5 billion by 2012. EPA chief Stephen Johnson says the plan “offers the American people a hat trick — it protects the environment, strengthens our energy security, and supports America’s farmers.” But critics see it as more of a plain ol’ trick, noting that without improving fuel economy — a move the Big Three automakers have fought — it don’t much matter what you burn. Others point out EPA’s refusal to regulate carbon-dioxide emissions, a federal stance the Supreme Court bashed last week. In fact, Johnson commented for the first time on the SCOTUS smackdown, noting that his agency was “evaluating” the ruling: “This isn’t the last you’ve heard from us on this subject.” Dum dum dum!