During the Fuel Ethanol Workshop (FEW), Executive Vice President for the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Brian Jennings sat on a panel with other ethanol industry leaders to discuss key policy issues in Washington, D.C. However, in a follow-up to the discussion, Jennings said the real action is taking place on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
EPA is set to release the final 2013 RFS volumes. And this is important, said Jennings, to make sure the cellulose numbers are high enough to incent some of the production. At virtually the same time, the EPA will propose the 2014 RFS volumes, or numbers.
“What’s really important here, is that in the past EPA has reduced cellulose but have assumed that other advanced biofuels, sugarcane ethanol from Brazil, domestic advanced, biodiesel, can make up the difference when they reduce cellulose.” Next year the cellulose number is so high, 1.75 billion, that they’re going to have to reduce it such that there probably isn’t sufficient advanced biofuels to make up the difference, explained Jennings.
“So we could be looking for the very first time in 2014 with changes across the board of the RFS from EPA not Congress.” Jennings added that ACE is trying to get their arms around how they want to tackle this with EPA.
Jennings also discussed the farm bill and the Energy and Commence Committee Renewable Fuel Standard (RFA) white papers. He believes hearings may take place in July but is not sure if ACE or any other association will be invited to participate in the hearings. But, he stressed, ACE will be active in the debate.
Listen to my interview with Brian here: EPA Set for Action