The #Ag industry is split on the final #RFS (Renewable Fuel Standard) rules that were released yesterday by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). While the RVOs (renewable volume obligations) were an improvement over the proposed rules released in May of this year, the #Ag industry is calling on the EPA to further strengthen the legislation and increase the amount of corn ethanol blended into America’s fuel.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called the final rules for 2014, 2015 and 2016 a move in the right direction. “This unprecedented commitment is part of the reason why, even in recent years when there has been some uncertainty with RFS, we have seen continued growth in biofuels production and consumption,” said Vilsack in a statement.
National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Chip Bowling reacted to the news with mixed feelings. “While we are pleased to see the EPA take a step forward and revise its original proposal, the fact remains that any reduction in the statutory amount will have a negative impact on our economy, our energy security, and the environment.”
Despite the volumes increasing over 2014 numbers, none of the four renewable fuel categories are at statutory levels. As a result, Bowling said NCGA and other organizations are evaluating their options to protect farmers and consumers and hold the EPA accountable to meet statutory requirements.
National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson sharply criticized the EPA for issuing final volume targets well below their statutory level. “The administration’s decision to issue RFS volume obligations below their statutory requirements exacerbates the serious damage already done to the renewable fuels industry and America’s family farmers,” said Johnson. “Clearly the administration has accepted Big Oil’s talking points and paved the way for a weaker RFS to the detriment of economic prosperity in rural America and the administration’s own climate change goals.”
That sentiment was shared by American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman. “We need more biofuels, not less, and Farm Bureau called on EPA earlier this year to protect the RFS,” said Stallman. “We are disappointed to see the agency move forward with a decision that will stall growth and progress in renewable fuels as well as the broader agricultural economy.”