Thursday was the final day for submitting comments on the Renewable Fuel Standard waiver request. The Environmental Protection Agency received comments from agricultural groups on both sides of the debate. Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis said there is no justification for waiving the RFS and no merit to the arguments of ethanol’s critics. In fact – he said the waiver requests are riddled with inaccuracies and misinformation. Buis believes the governors and big food companies pushing the waiver have failed to show severe economic harm directly attributable to the RFS. Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen agreed – stating that EPA has no option but to deny the waiver requests because they are procedurally incomplete, legally insufficient and factually flawed. Both Buis and Dinneen pointed to the RFS program’s inherent flexibilities and said that the RFS is working as intended.
To obtain a waiver – RFA notes a petitioner must show there is severe harm to the economy of a state, a region or the U.S.; that the harm is directly caused by the RFS; and that waiving the RFS would cure the claimed harm. RFA says the waiver requests completely fail to satisfy these criteria. For one – the group notes that the waiver request letters explicitly recognize that the drought of 2012 was the root cause of increased feed costs. RFA also cites studies that suggest waiving the RFS would not have a major impact on corn prices and could actually result in increased feed costs in some instances.
According to the comments submitted by Buis – a decision to grant the waiver requests would come at a great cost to the United States. He says a full waiver of the RFS could lead to closed or idled biorefineries – resulting in thousands of lost jobs and billions of dollars in lost revenues. Buis added that consumers would see much higher prices at the gas station – costing drivers more than the potential impact on food prices. Buis also noted the billions U.S. corn farmers could lose. Buis said waiving the RFS would jeopardize our energy security, continue our dangerous dependence on foreign oil, would do nothing to improve the nation’s environment and would do tremendous economic harm to American consumers, the biofuels industry and America’s farmers.
A decision on the waiver request is expected by November 11.
Source: NAFB News Service