EPA proposes lower 2014 renewable fuels volumes

The biofuels industry was dealt a blow earlier today when the Environmental Protection Agency lowered their proposed renewable fuel volumes for 2014.  The proposed range for biofuels to be added to the fuel supply next year is a range of 15 billion to 15.52 billion gallons with a recommendation of 15.21 billion gallons.  If the proposal becomes law, that would be a reduction of almost 3 billion gallons.

President of the National Turkey Federation Joel Brandenberger says this announcement is something their industry is “thankful for” and is long overdue.  “The Renewable Fuels Standard has been affecting our members since the first RFS legislation was passed in 2005,” he says.  “It has disrupted the certainty in the feed supply, it has caused swings in availability of feeds, and obviously as a result of that the pricing of feed.  We really do appreciate the EPA and the Administrations action today.”

Brandenberger says he anticipates a fight from the renewable fuels industry.  “You will probably hear comments from those in the ethanol industry like ‘well we’ve had an abundant harvest the price of corn is coming down, why isn’t the price of food coming down as well’,” he says.  “They know the answer to that. Our members aren’t feeding this year’s lower priced, abundant harvest of corn.  They’re still feeding last year’s drought ravaged, expensive corn.”

Members of the renewable fuels industry, as well as other members of the agriculture industry did in fact respond.

The National Corn Growers Association says the proposed reduction will devastate farmers.  NCGA president Martin Barbre says, “This recommendation is ill-advised and should be condemned by all consumers because it is damaging to our tenuous economy and is short-sighted regarding the nation’s energy future.”  He adds, “Agriculture has been a bright spot in a failing US economy, but current corn prices are below the cost of production and EPA’s ruling would be devastating for family farmers and the entire rural economy.”

The American Soybean Association says the EPA’s proposal goes backwards on biodiesel.  ASA president Danny Murphy says the proposed levels are low and will stifle growth and job creation potential.   “Biodiesel, including biodiesel produced from soybean oil, is the most prevalent advanced biofuel currently produced in the United States,” he says.  “It is the first and only EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel to reach 1 billion gallons of annual production.”  ASA will continue to work with EPA and industry partners to demonstrate the flaws represented by the proposal.

The National Biodiesel Board warned that EPA’s proposal for 2014 would cause plant closures and layoffs in the US biodiesel industry.  Anne Steckel, NBB’s vice president of federal affairs calls the announcement “surprising and disappointing”.  She said, “The growth in domestic biodiesel production dovetails exactly with President Obama’s statement this past July that ‘biofuels are already reducing our dependence on oil, cutting pollution, and creating jobs around the country’.”

Once the proposal is published in the Federal Register, it will be open to a 60-day public comment period.


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