Home Indiana Agriculture News Disappointment after EPA Fails to Finalize 2014 Volume Standards Under RFS

Disappointment after EPA Fails to Finalize 2014 Volume Standards Under RFS

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EPA says no final rule yet

Tom Buis-KC14Friday the EPA issued a notice announcing that it will not be finalizing 2014 volume standards under the Renewable Fuel Standard program before the end of this year, but the agency intends to take action in 2015. Reaction quickly came from all corners, and in agriculture “disappointed” was an often used word.

Bob Stallman at the American Farm Bureau Federation said the delay by EPA has created “unneeded uncertainty in the marketplace,” although the nation’s largest farm group was pleased EPA is reconsidering its proposed rule.

Tom Buis, the CEO at Growth Energy said that proposed rule needed to be abandoned.

“What they proposed a year ago was so off base that I think they had to go back to the drawing board,” he told HAT. “But the real question for us and concern for us is what is the final rule going to look like? We don’t want to see it based on the blend wall where oil can dictate the volumes for the next year based on the amount used. The RFS was never designed for that. It was designed to help us get market access and that’s really important not just for first generation ethanol, but we’re right on the cusp and have witnessed three new commercial cellulosic plants come up.”

While he says the newest delay is unwelcome, the announcement “is a clear acknowledgement that the EPA’s proposed rule was flawed from the beginning.”

President of the Indiana Corn Growers Association, Herb Ringel said Friday, “We’re encouraged to see the EPA withdraw its fundamentally flawed 2014 Renewable Volume Obligation after listening to the thousands of farmers and millions of consumers across Indiana and the United States who want alternative fuels and a stronger economy.”

American Soybean Association President Ray Gaesser said “The continued delays create great uncertainty for the biodiesel industry and soybean farmers and limits the industry’s ability to invest and expand.”

Dave Lowe is president of the Indiana Soybean Alliance and echoed the opinion that more delays affect soybean farmers and the biodiesel industry.

“The Proposed Rule was unacceptable and would have been a step backward from the amount of Indiana biodiesel produced and utilized in 2013. ISA believes that EPA can and should finalize a 2014 rule that sets the biomass-based diesel volumes at or above the nearly 1.8 billion gallons that were produced and consumed in the U.S. in 2013.”

The following statement was released by Herb Ringel, a farmer from Wabash, Ind. and president of the Indiana Corn Growers Association, which represents the interests of corn farmers across the state of Indiana in response to an Environmental Protection Agency announcement Friday that it was delaying its decision on the 2014 Renewable Volume Obligation under the Renewable Fuel Standard again:

“We’re encouraged to see the EPA withdraw its fundamentally flawed 2014 Renewable Volume Obligation after listening to the thousands of farmers and millions of consumers across Indiana and the United States who want alternative fuels and a stronger economy.”

“Congress created the Renewable Fuel Standard to help reduce our dependence on big oil and to provide cleaner fuel choices for consumers. We will continue working to defend the interests of farmers and consumers by holding EPA accountable for implementing the law enacted by Congress.”

“Corn farmers have produced a second record crop in a row—resulting in corn prices that have fallen below the cost of production in many parts of the country. Our members are frustrated by uncertainty and delays by the federal government in implementing the RFS.”

“Here in Indiana, ethanol means 4,100 full time jobs and provided $42 million to state and local in taxes to our much needed local and state governments. A typical Indiana ethanol plant adds nearly $35 million annually to the community where it is located. Our rural communities need economic development and reasons for job creation. Ethanol has provided it and we will continue to advocate for its growth. The federal government and our representatives in Washington, DC must further support the ethanol industry in Indiana and across the country.” 

The following statement was released by Dave Lowe, a farmer from Dunkirk, Ind. and president of the Indiana Soybean Alliance, which represents the interests of Indiana soybean farmers after the Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday that it was withdrawing its 2014 Renewable Volume Obligation under the Renewable Fuel Standard:

“As the EPA continually delays its duties under the law, it creates considerable uncertainty for soybean farmers and the biodiesel industry. This uncertainty limits the ability of the biodiesel industry to invest and expand. That’s a bad deal for farmers, consumers, and, ultimately, taxpayers.”

“The Proposed Rule was unacceptable and would have been a step backward from the amount of Indiana biodiesel produced and utilized in 2013. ISA believes that EPA can and should finalize a 2014 rule that sets the biomass-based diesel volumes at or above the nearly 1.8 billion gallons that were produced and consumed in the U.S. in 2013.”

“Biodiesel is an important step toward reducing dependence on big oil and can continue to create jobs and spur investment in Indiana’s rural communities. We will continue to work with Indiana’s congressional delegation to solidify their support of the RFS and Indiana agriculture.”

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, issued the following statement regarding EPA’s decision to delay acting on the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard rule until 2015:

“Today’s announcement shows how deeply flawed the EPA’s original RFS rule was,” said Stabenow. “The EPA needs to work toward a new rule in 2015 that will provide long-term certainty needed for the advanced biofuels industry to give real competition to Big Oil at the gas pump.  I urge the administration to make this a priority and take a hard look at how this could seriously set back growth at a crucial time when tremendous progress is being made toward commercial-scale production of advanced biofuels that are creating home-grown American energy.”

Brian Jennings, Executive Vice President for the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), issued the following statement after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announcement:

“Big Oil came close to bullying the Administration to completely rewrite the RFS this year so oil companies could escape their legal responsibility to blend more ethanol in gasoline.  But thanks to thousands of comments from ACE members and other biofuel supporters, EPA wisely chose to reconsider their ill-advised proposal which would have legitimized the so-called “blend wall”.  While we will reserve full judgment until they finalize the 2014 targets next year, it certainly appears the Administration recognizes their proposed RFS changes were inconsistent with legislative history and the Clean Air Act.  We will continue to work with the Administration to ensure they use their authority to hold oil companies legally responsible for making cleaner and less expensive renewable fuel choices, such as E15 and E85, available to consumers.”