Next month, the Environmental Protection Agency will announce its final decision on how much renewable fuel will be allowed in the nation’s fuel supply. The EPA shocked the agricultural community last November by proposing a rule that would reduce the level of renewable fuel that can be blended into the nation’s fuel supply. Since then, the farm sector launched a massive effort to convince the agency to change their minds. EPA administrator Gina McCarthy said, recently, that she got the message, “I understand that agriculture, and the corn market in particular, has really relied on the Renewable Fuels Standard to help with some of the fluxuations of the market and make it more manageable.” McCarthy, who visited an Indiana farm last fall shortly after the proposed rule was announced, admitted farmers were not shy in telling her what they thought of the agency and their seemingly anti-ethanol stance, “I am concerned about the disappointment I have seen on the face of those farmers. What we are hearing is that this rule is not just impacting corn farmers, but it has had a chilling effect on the renewable market as a whole.”
She hopes the final rule will be released in June and indicated it will reflect the thousands of comments submitted to the agency by farmers, “We hope to release the final rule as early in June as we can, and I think you will see we have listened to the comments and that the numbers will reflect these comments.” The proposed rule lowered the renewable fuels requirement by about 3 billion gallons.