Big Turnout Expected for EPA RFS Hearing

A huge turnout is expected Thursday at a public hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Renewable Fuel Standard volume obligations for 2014. Literally busloads of stakeholders, both opposed to and in favor of cutting the requirements, are attending the hearing at the Hyatt in Crystal City, Virginia.

terrybIowa Governor Terry Branstad will be attending with several Iowa livestock producers, farmers and renewable fuels leaders. Branstad fears the EPA proposal could lead to another farm crisis. “I was governor during the farm crisis of the ‘80s when land values dropped 63 percent,” he said during a conference call on Wednesday. “I know what can happen when you have an agriculture depression, and we don’t want to go back and revisit that.”

Also attending the hearing will be corn farmers from a dozen other states in addition to Iowa. “It’s great to see so many people willing to leave their farms at this time of year for an important opportunity to give the EPA a piece of their mind,” said National Corn Growers Association First Vice President Chip Bowling of Maryland.

Advanced biofuels producers will be making the case that they would bear a disproportionate share of the proposed cuts. “They have proposed to cut volume requirements for advanced biofuels by more than 40 percent compared to requirements written into the statute,” said Advanced Biofuels Association President Michael McAdams. “In contrast, EPA has proposed to reduce volume requirements for conventional biofuels by less than 10 percent. We’re left scratching our head wondering why the EPA would deliver such a disproportionate large blow to the category of renewable fuels that reduces greenhouse gases the most.”

Nearly two dozen representatives of the U.S. biodiesel industry are slated to testify at the hearing, including Wayne Presby with White Mountain Biodiesel in New Hampshire, who says the proposal threatens the survival of his company. “We currently employ 20 people and have grown at an annual rate of 300 percent per year for the last two years,” he says. “We were intending to further increase our production this coming year and hire additional workers for a third shift, however, the current proposal by the EPA will halt our growth completely and may result in the closing of our business.”

The hearing is scheduled to begin
at 9:00 am Eastern time and “end when all parties present who wish to speak have had the opportunity to do so.” Domestic Fuel reporter John Davis will be there to provide coverage here.

One thought on “Big Turnout Expected for EPA RFS Hearing

  1. Sure, I understand why the oil lobby opposes ethanol – they don’t control the molecule. Protecting their turf, simple as that. But consider this – ethanol has bailed out the oil industry several times over the past decade. First, when MTBE was found to be too toxic and non-biodegradable as an oxygenate additive to gasoline, ethanol became the only logical choice to replace MTBE due to its immediate availability at required volumes. Second, the gasoline refiners and blenders were BEGGING for more ethanol when hurricanes Katrina and Rita shut down 25% of the refining capacity for a prolonged period. Today, blenders are using ethanol as a SIGNIFICANTLY CHEAPER octane blend stock to blend up less expensive, low grade gasoline to meet octane specifications. For proof, look at what happened to the ethanol inventories when the EPA announced the potential mandate reduction – a huge buying spree, presumably by the gasoline blenders, temporarily causing a large price spike in ethanol. Make no mistake – the gasoline producers/blenders are taking full advantage of the positive virtues of ethanol while trying to kill the industry simply because they don’t control the production of C2H6O. The gasoline industry seems to be sawing their own arm off. The screams of arm pain will certainly follow.