Just before noon Friday the EPA announced a long awaited decision on the request that the agency waive the Renewable Fuels Standard. EPA said they have not found evidence to support a finding of severe “economic harm” that would warrant a waiver. Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation said they recognize that drought has created hardship in some sectors of the economy, and particularly livestock producers, but extensive analysis revealed an RFS waiver would have little, if any, impact.
Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association was one of many to react.
“We’re obviously very pleased with EPA’s decision,” he said, “and I give the agency great credit for sticking to the science, doing sound analysis, and not being swayed by the emotion of this issue.”
He says those who requested the waiver were unable to make the case that the RFS is causing economic harm to the livestock industry. Dinneen was surprised at the lack of analysis they presented.
“And that was telling me all along that this was more about politics than about substance anyway. I suspect now they’ll go to Capitol Hill and continue their effort to undermine this program, and they will continue to miss the forest for the tree because it is not ethanol that is driving up the price of commodities today. It’s Mother Nature. It was this drought, and what we ought to be doing is sitting down and having a more constructive discussion about things than what is currently happening.”
While awaiting EPA’s decision, the marketplace has responded and demand rationing is happening for all uses of corn.
“The ethanol industry is down about 11 or 12 percent in terms of our production, our corn consumption, and you’re seeing exports being reduced some, other industrial uses being reduced some, and feeders looking for other sources of feed. That’s how the marketplace does respond to these conditions and it is as it should be.”
Dinneen adds keeping the RFS in place is important for the development of next generation biofuels and he expects the RFS will continue to face challenges by the oil industry and others opposed to the use of corn ethanol.
Also Friday a coalition of livestock, poultry and dairy organizations expressed extreme frustration and disappointment about the decision saying EPA chose to ignore the clear economic argument from tens of thousands of family farmers and livestock and poultry producers, that the food to fuel policy is causing and will cause severe harm to regions in which those farmers and producers operate.”[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/11/Dinneen-react-to-EPA-waiver-decision.mp3|titles=Dinneen react to EPA waiver decision]