Governor Christie, I Award You No Points…

At a recent event in New Hampshire, New Jersey Governor and potential presidential candidate Chris Christie was asked by a member of the crowd his stance on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). In the past, Christie has come out in support of the mandate, telling Iowans that he “absolutely” supports the RFS because “it is what the law requires.”

At the New Hampshire event, Rep. Joe Pitre (R-Strafford) asked “in light of the EPA’s recent proposal to roll back the amount of ethanol blended into our gasoline supply, would you support reforming this policy to protect consumers from the costs of this broken policy?”

Based on Christie’s past support for the RFS, one would think that he would be able to field this straightforward question. His response was anything but clear:

Listen, what I’ve said before about this is that, you know, Congress has to decide what they want to do here. The fact is they have renewable fuel standards on the books that they’re not enforcing, and they haven’t enforced.

First off, it is actually the executive branch, specifically the EPA, that is tasked with enforcing the RFS. Just like Gov. Christie (presumably) learned in school, Congress is responsible for passing laws, while the executive branch is responsible for administering laws. Christie continued:

Well, if they want to change them that’s the President’s problem that he hasn’t enforced them and put those things into effect as the executive. Congress has put them on the books. So Congress, or the President, needs to do one of two things: take them off the books and do what you’re suggesting, or enforce the law as it is now.

Wrong again. Congress is responsible for changing the RFS, not the President. Further, Congress has actually been considering repealing the RFS altogether, which would end this costly, broken mandate. More insights from Christie:

But right now we live in a kind of Neverland in between because nobody knows what they want to do. So my view of it is let the President state where he’s at, let the Congress either do or not do what they’re saying their position is before all of us start weighing in and deciding what we want to do…

The EPA has made its position very clear based on its most recent decision to dramatically increase cellulosic biofuel. If Gov. Christie had a grasp on the issue at hand, he would realize that the EPA’s levels for cellulosic biofuels are wildly unrealistic and will lead to increased gas prices for consumers.

Christie then laid out a vague energy platform in which he discussed lifting the oil export ban and promoted hydraulic fracturing, nuclear energy, and solar energy. However, he gets tied up again when he tries to circle back to the RFS:

Ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard has to be judged and prioritized within that menu of options and, if I were President of the United States I would set out a national energy policy… and we would make those decisions based on cost and effectiveness of the program, and not upon anything else. And that’s the way I’d make that judgment.

If he were judging the program based on cost and effectiveness he should have no trouble supporting efforts to completely repeal this mandate because it is both ineffective and costly for consumers.

So the verdict, Governor Christie, can be summed up by the following video:

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