With the time period over for comments regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard proposal, many people are asking: What’s next? The EPA is now tasked with reviewing all the comments and this will prove to be quite an undertaking as more than 40,000 comments were submitted. It is anticipated that it will take several months before the EPA publishes their final proposal.
In the meantime, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is highlighting all the positive comments that were sent to the EPA from citizens representing all walks of life. This despite, said RFA, the attempts of the American Petroleum Institute’s (API) automated robo-call campaign. A review of EPA’s docket by RFA revealed that tens of thousands of Americans from across the country used unique stories and anecdotes to express their opposition to EPA’s proposal to reduce the 2014 RFS volumes. In contrast, API’s robo-call initiative resulted in tens of thousands of identical comments, replete with false statements and trite myths.
According to RFA, API’s robo-calls used a “salacious automated message to tell listeners that more ethanol would cause ‘higher food prices and damaged car engines’”. The robo-calls described American farmers as “extremists” and said “[w]e need the EPA to stand up for American families.” The automated call concluded by directing recipients to “press 1 now” to send a pre-written message to EPA supporting the proposed rule. Unfortunately, said RFA, thousands of Americans were duped by API’s underhanded tactics.
“Unlike the cold, impersonal, fear-induced robo-calls used by Big Oil to the level of absurdity, a diverse group of ethanol supporters often took the time to personally write to the EPA in opposition to the blending cuts,” said Bob Dinneen, RFA president and CEO. “Farmers, ethanol producers, and other renewable fuels supporters explained in great, vivid personal detail how the reductions would hurt their businesses, families, and local communities. I hope the EPA will distinguish the difference between the mass robo-call responses and the in-depth individual comments written by those most knowledgeable on the impact of the proposed reduction of the RFS. The decision the EPA and White House are about to make will have a lasting effect for years to come.”
API’s antics are overshadowed, said RFA, by the genuine and heartfelt comments from a wide array of stakeholders about the real impacts of EPA’s decision. Bankers, high school and college students, equipment dealers, county commissioners, university presidents, mayors, auto repair shop owners, military veterans, auto dealers, construction workers, engineers, port authority executives, clean air advocates, workers in the automobile, aircraft and farm equipment manufacturing industries, gas station equipment suppliers, seed companies, and college professors joined thousands of farmers and biofuel producers in urging EPA to reverse its proposal.