Farm Talk

Ag News from Around the Country

November 19, 2013

Renewable fuel standard change would hurt farmers, group says

Parsons, Kansas — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released the proposed 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumetric requirements.

For 2014, EPA is proposing to lower the conventional renewable fuel requirement from the statutory level of 14.4 billion gallons (BG) to 13 billion gallons, and slash the total RFS volumetric requirement from 18.15 BG to 15.21 BG.

According to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), however, the EPA does not have the statutory authority to lower the total requirement by more than the total reduction in advanced and cellulosic.

In addition, RFA says, the so-called “blend wall” does not qualify under the law as grounds for a “general waiver” of the RFS volumes.  The specific conditions needed to effectuate a “general waiver”—severe economic harm or inadequate domestic supply of renewable fuel—are not present.

The cellulosic biofuel volumetric requirement was waived to 17 million gallons, and the total advanced volumetric requirement was waived to 2.2 billion gallons.

The proposed 2014 blending requirements will be open to public review and comment before a final ruling is made.

Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of RFA, said:

“By re-writing the statute and re-defining the conditions upon which a waiver from the RFS can be granted, EPA is proposing to place the nation’s renewable energy policy in the hands of the oil companies. That would be the death of innovation and evolution in our motor fuel markets, thus increasing consumer costs at the pump and the environmental cost of energy production. This proposal cannot stand.

“During the comment period, I expect reason and fact to replace the fear and misinformation peddled by Big Oil and seemingly adopted for this proposal. But an Administration committed to addressing climate change cannot turn its back on biofuels. An Administration managing an economic recovery cannot watch gasoline prices rise for lack of competition.

“An Administration intent upon seeing the next generation of biofuel technology commercialized cannot eviscerate the demand base that would allow those fuels to succeed. And an Administration that understands the importance of a healthy farm economy cannot rip away demand that farmers relied upon in growing the largest corn crop in history, particularly at a time when there is no Farm Bill safety net. This Administration, a consistent supporter of the RFS, will not affect its demise.”

Slashing the 2014 targets could lead to negative impacts for America’s farmers and consumers, and ultimately cut American jobs, harm the environment, and discourage the future of biofuels. £

 

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