Avoiding the Catch-22: Reforming the Renewable Fuel Standard to Protect Freshwater Resources and Promote Energy Independence

Leah Stiegler *

“No beaches have been closed due to ethanol spills!”[1] An ethanol advocacy group near the United States Capitol shouted these words in 2010. Proponents of ethanol parade an environmentally benign image that plays up ethanol as a “clean fuel” that could never harm water resources, unlike well-publicized oil spills, such as the Exxon Valdez incident.[2] But this is not the case.

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* J.D. Candidate, 2015, University of Richmond School of Law; B.A. and B.S., 2012, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University. I am grateful to have this opportunity to publish and would like to thank the entire University of Richmond Law Review staff and editorial board for their work to make it possible. A special thank you to Jonathan Tan and Christopher Bascom for providing guidance and edits throughout my writing process. Finally, I would like to thank my friends, family, and especially my mother, Janet Stiegler, for her inspiration and encouragement to improve my writing.

        [1].    Erica Gies, As Ethanol Booms, Critics Warn of Environmental Effect, N.Y. Times (June 24, 2010), http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/25/business/energy-environment/25iht-r bogeth.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0.

        [2].    See id.