From the Renewable Fuels Assn. to the National Corn Growers to the National Farmers Union, reaction was swift today when the Environmental Protection Agency released the proposed 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumetric requirements. And as you might guess, it was particularly complimentary.
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.
“While only a proposed rule at this point, this is the first time that the Obama Administration has shown any sign of wavering when it comes to implementing the RFS,” said Brooke Coleman, executive director of the Advanced Ethanol Council (AEC). “EPA is in the right ballpark for cellulosic biofuels, and we are confident that the final number will be the right one for the industry in 2014. But bigger picture issues must be resolved in the final rule because advanced biofuel investors also pay attention to the big picture.”
The Renewable Fuels Assn. insists that EPA does not have the statutory authority to lower the total requirement by more than the total reduction in advanced and cellulosic. In addition, 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.
In its response to the proposal, the National Corn Growers Assn. “expressed outrage” in the wake of the announcement.
“This recommendation is ill-advised and should be condemned by all consumers because it is damaging to our tenuous economy and short-sighted regarding the nation’s energy future,” said NCGA President Martin Barbre. “Agriculture has been a bright spot in a failing U.S. economy, but current corn prices are below the cost of production. EPA’s ruling would be devastating for family farmers and the entire rural economy.”
Click on the links below to read other reactions to EPA’s proposed lowering of the mandated renewable fuels production.