August 7, 2008

EPA denies RFS waiver: Corn ethanol use on track

The Environmental Protection Agency has denied Texas Gov. Rick Perry's request to cut the Renewable Fuels Standard in half for the next year. As a result, the required total volume of renewable fuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel, mandated by law to be blended into the fuel supply will remain at 9 billion gallons in 2008 and 11.1 billion gallons in 2009.

Corn growers have welcomed the news -- and are likely relieved that this debate has come to an end for now. Here's a joint news release from the Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Corn Growers Association.

Randy Uhrmacher, president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and a corn producer from Juniata, noted that the "system worked and determined that there is no crisis being driven by corn-based ethanol.” He said corn producers are glad EPA concluded that granting the RFS waiver was not the solution to higher food and feed costs.

Jon Holzfaster, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and a corn and cattle producer from Paxton, said reducing the RFS would send the wrong signal to ethanol producers and investors, and in the end the waiver would not have significantly lowered food prices because high petroleum prices are the main driver in today’s food costs. “EPA’s decision was right on, and it keeps us on the path to a more diversified fuel supply," he said.

Perry filed the request back in April - ignoring a study from Texas A&M and claiming that the RFS was pushing up feed and food prices and causing harm to citizens and businesses in Texas. EPA decided this was not the case and that granting the waiver would not significantly lower feed or food prices -- despite Perry's last ditch effort with a 55-page letter he sent yesterday to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson.

No comments:

Post a Comment