When a government mandate reaches the level of absurdity

Regular readers of this forum have come to expect wackiness from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. But EPA has reached a new plateau, as documented in the following blurb from the latest National Review.

The Environmental Protection Agency, never known for its realism, has really outdone itself with its green-fuel mandates. Last year, it demanded that refiners purchase 8.65 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel, made from non-edible plant sources. The problem? The U.S. has never, ever, ever produced 8.65 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel. The inputs don’t exist because plant waste isn’t grown commercially; the U.S. lacks the infrastructure to convert larger amounts of plant waste to fuel; and the piddly 20,069 gallons of cellulosic biofuel produced domestically last year never made it to the market, but were instead exported as a party trick for the Rio Climate Conference. Refiners’ failure to purchase a nonexistent product cost them millions of dollars, and they were understandably peeved. They got some relief in late January, when a federal appeals court ruled the EPA had overstepped its authority by demanding the impossible. The EPA responded by ignoring the court ruling, promptly issuing a 2013 mandate that orders refiners to buy 14 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel this year. It is fueling its green agenda on fantasy alone. If wishes were cellulosic ethanol, then beggars would ride.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...