All eyes in the ethanol industry are on California today as the state’s Air Resources Board (ARB) is hearing arguments and preparing to vote on a controversial staff proposal for the state’s low carbon fuel standard (LCFS).
Hundreds of scientists, biofuel producers, including both current and next generation companies, and petroleum interests have all cautioned that ARB’s approach is far outpacing the available science to support their recommendations.
There is a glimmer of hope that all the input being provided is being heard by officials making the decision, according to a letter received this week by Growth Energy from board chairperson Mary Nichols.
Regarding concerns that the proposed LCFS is biased against corn ethanol, Nichols wrote that the ARB “firmly believes that corn ethanol will play an important role in helping California achieve the goals of the LCFS.” The letter also stated:
The LCFS supports the market for corn ethanol in California over the next decade at least. In the next few years, based on representations from the renewable fuels industry and others, we expect the market to shift to lower carbon biofuels produced from new materials using advanced production technologies. I also wanted to make you aware that I am asking the Board to take the following three additional steps to ensure that low-carbon biofuels, including low-carbon corn ethanol can continue to contribute to California’s economy, and in helping fuel suppliers reach the standard.
The board is expected to issue a ruling on Friday after hearing arguments.