The luxury auction house Christie's will begin auctioning off $15 million of ill-gotten artwork obtained from renewable fuel fraudsters, after they were caught selling fake credits used to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency's biofuel program to major oil companies and refiners.Yet another reason to get rid of the Renewable Fuel Standard program, as if the facts that gasohol is not saving energy, not reducing carbon dioxide output (if you care), damaging and ruining motors, increasing air pollution, putting more land under agriculture and increasing water pollution, and raising food prices. It was an idea so bad it took both parties to promote it.
The fraud scandal unfolded in the early part of the decade and is widely considered a black mark on the EPA Renewable Fuel Standard program, or RFS.
The EPA program requires oil companies and refiners to blend ethanol, biodiesel and a host of other advanced fuels into the nation's fuel supply or be penalized.
The scandal crushed the market value of clean diesel credits, forcing many biofuel companies to file for bankruptcy, while sparking the ire of oil companies that were fined by the EPA for using the phony credits, even though it was proven they were unaware that the credits were fake.
Refiners forced the EPA to devise a rule that would make biofuel firms responsible for verifying credits before selling them on the open market by third-party auditors. And all this because of a few bad apples in the biofuels bunch.
Christie's will be auctioning off the $15 million worth of highly sought-after photography, which one of the fraudulent companies, Green Diesel, used to launder its millions. The international art publication of record, Art Newspaper, says the U.S. Attorney General Office of New Jersey recently "consigned the confiscated works to Christie's, which will sell them in a series of themed auctions" in New York starting Feb. 17.
Actually, cheating on the program was probably a net benefit.