It's been more than five months since the Environmental Protection Agency proposed lower volumes for the Renewable Fuel Standard, and ethanol groups –already ramping up support for an EPA reversal on the volume cuts – are anxiously awaiting a final decision.
Some interests are "optimistic" that EPA will tone down the cuts it has planned for the RFS. As it stands, the policy calls for a 1.4 billion gallon reduction in renewable fuel production requirements, down from 16.5 billion gallons in 2013 to 15.2 in 2014.
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, adamant opponent of an RFS rollback, says his optimism for a change in EPA plans is based on discussions earlier this spring with the agency's leader Gina McCarthy.
But the RFS fight isn't just based on ensuring demand for Iowa's corn – there's a larger concern that without the RFS, morale will start to wane for development of biofuels made from other feedstocks, like corn and wheat straw, The New York Times reported Monday.
Meanwhile, EPA's speed in issuing Renewable Fuel Standard targets is also up for discussion. Last week, the oil industry presented arguments in a case against the EPA for being more than 8 months late in issuing the 2013 RFS targets, and this week, the Government Accountability Office has released a new report finding that when the EPA drags its feet on issuing targets, refiners pay the price.
According to the GAO probe, "A late [RFS] contributes to industry uncertainty, which can increase costs because industry cannot plan and budget effectively, according to some stakeholders," The Hill reported Tuesday.
Check out these need-to-read Renewable Fuel Standard stories and more using the links below:
1. Branstad thinks EPA likely to reconsider ethanol volume in RFS. WCF Courier (Iowa)
2. As cellulosic production increases, appetite for such fuels seems to be diminishing. New York Times
3. EPA delays, ethanol credits take center stage in RFS court battle. E&E
4. GAO: Delays in issuing annual RFS hurt refiners. The Hill
5. U.S. ethanol industry faces challenges at home. Kearney Hub
6. McCarthy answers lawmakers' questions on RFS plans. Ethanol Producer