In a document released Friday, November 21st, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it will not release an official final ruling for the Renewable Fuel Standard program prior to the end of 2014.
(Please note this is not the official version of the EPA's submitted document. Official version is pending signature, which will be able to be accessed via this link.)
Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa made the following comment on the announcement from the Environmental Protection Agency that it will delay finalization of the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) until 2015.
“The reprieve is mixed news for the farmers and biofuel producers who have responded to the call for more homegrown, renewable energy. The Administration’s ill-conceived proposal would have caused real harm to farmers, producers, and consumers. It would have increased dependence on oil and protected the stranglehold Big Oil has on our country’s fuel supply. Still, the Administration doesn’t deserve praise. Creating uncertainty for everybody who works in this industry isn’t a good way to do business. No one knows what kind of proposal the Administration might offer next year. Uncertainty is the enemy of job creation and investment. Unfortunately, as we also saw with the Keystone XL pipeline, uncertainty, delay and indecision are hallmarks of this Administration on energy policy.”
The National Biodiesel Board released the following statement from Vice President of Federal Affairs Anne Steckel following the EPA’s announcement:
"This Administration says over and over that it supports biodiesel, yet its actions with these repeated delays are undermining the industry. Biodiesel producers have laid off workers and idled production. Some have shut down altogether. We know that fuels policy is complex, but there is absolutely no reason that the biodiesel volume hasn't been announced. We are urging the Administration to finalize a 2014 rule as quickly as possible that puts this industry back on track for growth and puts our country back on track for ending our dangerous dependence on oil. We also urge them to move quickly on 2015 so that we don’t repeat this flawed process again next year."
Also in response to the announcement, the American Soybean Association President Ray Gaesser highlighted soybean farmer concerns with EPA’s inaction on the issue.
“The continued delays create great uncertainty for the biodiesel industry and soybean farmers and limits the industry’s ability to invest and expand,” said Gaesser.
“The Proposed Rule was unacceptable and would have taken biodiesel backward from the amounts produced and utilized in 2013. However, ASA 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.” ASA will continue to work with the National Biodiesel Board and industry partners to secure appropriate and beneficial biodiesel RFS volume requirements from EPA and the Administration.”
The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) knows these continued delays are incredibly frustrating and we are working with the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and the American Soybean Association (ASA) to make sure the Administration understands the very real damage that this flawed process has caused the biodiesel industry and our national renewable fuels goals.
“The EPA’s ruling is disappointing to say the least,” MSGA President George Goblish said. “It is really too bad that we can’t get answers to a problem that has held back the industry for two years. The Administration continues to tie the hands of farmers on the topic of renewable fuels, which is a shame since biodiesel adds healthful benefits in that it cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions, while providing 73 cents value to every bushel of soybeans sold.”
Obviously, this announcement not only affects those in the bean and biodiesel market, but those in the corn and ethanol industries as well.
he following is a statement from Chip Bowling, Maryland farmer and president of the National Corn Growers Association, in response to today’s EPA announcement related to the Renewable Fuel Standard:
“Today’s announcement by EPA shows the Administration recognizes the proposed rule was inherently flawed and based on an unworkable methodology. We will continue to work with EPA to ensure that the 2014 and 2015 renewable fuel requirements are consistent with what Congress set forth in the Renewable Fuel Standard.
“Congress created the RFS to help reduce our dependence on foreign oil and to provide cleaner fuel choices for consumers. We will continue working to defend the interests of corn farmers and consumers by holding EPA accountable for implementing the law as enacted by Congress.
“Corn farmers have produced a second record crop in two years—resulting in corn prices that have fallen below the cost of production in many parts of the country. Our members have been frustrated by the uncertainty and delays surrounding the RFS. When the time came for them to speak up, they did so – loudly and forcefully. Our growers and allies sent the EPA a clear signal when this proposal was first issued, with nearly 200,000 people responding to the public comment opportunity in opposition to the reduction. Nearly 10,000 farmers called the White House directly. We have never before seen so much grassroots interest in a particular issue. Our farmers will continue to raise our voices as necessary in defense of this important policy.”