Blending Gas With “Rainbows and Unicorn Sweat”

Over at Volokh, some discussion about the EPA fining oil companies for failing to use cellulosic ethanol, a product which does not exist. Companies have been paying the fine. I’m wondering how this is constitutional, however. Can Congress claim the power to create a regulation under the commerce power that is impossible to comply with? Can Congress create any regulation that is impossible to comply with? As AEI noted, “Congress might as well have mandated oil companies blend gasoline with rainbows and unicorn sweat.”

My guess is, in this case, the fine is cheaper than fighting it.

6 thoughts on “Blending Gas With “Rainbows and Unicorn Sweat””

  1. The EPA has rigged the game so that it is practically impossible to challenge their findings. The Supreme Court has just heard the Sackett case in Idaho, and during arguments took some direct shots at EPA’s high handedness. I think we can reasonable expect a ruling that brings some sanity to the situation, not just for the EPA, but for all regulatory agencies.

  2. Doesn’t exist as a product, has been successfully created in small quantities. The plant that just shut down in south Georgia produced about a pint or so. More research needed.

    That doesn’t excuse the EPA.

    1. It’s a genuinely hard problem and it’s difficult to believe a sane organization would mandate its use prior to at least one production level plant is open. Heck, prior to a pilot plant proving a process can work outside the lab….

      Sure, if you’ve got the Green religion (what did that amendment say about the government establishing a religion???) put in guarantees for sales like the best suggestions for us getting out into space for real, but this?

      On the other hand I’m amused about how the paper companies gamed the system to get themselves a billion dollars a year out of this insanity: they produce a “biofuel” byproduct that they then burn for process heat. By mixing it with diesel they turned it into something else altogether, at least until this was noticed.

  3. I think whoever voted yes on any mandatory ethanol should be given a long walk off a short pier…. into a volcano.

    1. Don’t forget the very telling tariff on cheap Brazilian ethanol; if your climate is right, using sugar cane to make ethanol for vehicles can make sense. But we keep their’s out while subsidizing their off-shore oil drilling to the tune of billions. Heck, the ultimate example of insanity was when we recently got an adverse ruling in the international court that governs the agreements we’ve both signed and our response was to subsidize their farmers as well as ours, in preference to eliminating the subsidizes or Brazil imposing countervailing punitive tariffs.

      1. Exactly. Ethanol is corporate welfare. Maybe if Idaho had the first in the nation caucus we’d all be putting beet sugar in our tanks.

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