The Environmental Protection Agency in November announced that it will not be finalizing 2014 renewable fuel volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard program before the end of 2014.
On November 29, 2013, EPA published a notice of proposed rule-making to establish the 2014 RFS standards. Significant comment and controversy have delayed finalizing these standards.
According the EPA website, discussion particularly revolves around how "volumes should be set in light of lower gasoline consumption than had been forecast at the time that the Energy Independence and Security Act was enacted, and whether and on what basis the statutory volumes should be waived."
The administration stresses their commitment to the goals of the original statue to increase the use of renewable fuels, particularly cellulosic biofuels, which help reduce greenhouse emissions as well as diversify the nation's fuel supply.
What are Indiana commodity groups saying about this delay?
"As the EPA continually delays it duties under the law, it creates considerable uncertainty for soybean farmers and the biodiesel industry. This uncertainty limits the ability of the biodiesel industry to invest and expand. That's a bad deal for farmer, consumer, and, ultimately, taxpayers," says Dave Lowe, farmer from Dunkirk, Ind., and president of the Indiana Soybean Alliance.
Lowe and ISA believe that biodiesel is an important step closer to reducing dependence on big oil. They say it will continue to create jobs and spur investment here in Indiana's rural communities.
"The Proposed Rule was unacceptable and would have been a step backward from the amount of Indiana biodiesel produced and utilized in 2013." Lowe continues. "ISA believes that EPA can and should finalize a 2014 rule that sets the biomass-based diesel volumes at or above the nearly 1.8 billion gallons that were produced and consumed in the U.S. in 2013."
Related: EPA Puts RFS In Jeopardy
The Indiana Corn Growers Association also commented. With the production of a second record corn crop in a row resulting in falling corn prices, members are frustrated by uncertainty and delays by the federal government in implementing the RFS.
"Congress created the Renewable Fuel Standard to reduce our dependence on big oil and to provide cleaner fuel choices for consumers," says Herb Ringel, farmer from Wabash, Ind., and president of the ICGA. "We will continue working to defend the interests of farmers and consumers by holding EPS accountable for implementing the law enacted by Congress."