EPA Announces the Rule for 2014 is No Rule At All

November 21, 2014

More than a year after announcing a plan to lower the ethanol mandate for 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency has decided that the policy is so broken, it is easier to give up than announce a final rule.

EPA said the agency will “take action on the 2014 standards rule in 2015 prior to or in conjunction with action on the 2015 standards rule.” The deadline for 2013 compliance with the rule will take place in 2015, EPA’s notice says.

See how others are reacting to the EPA’s decision and check back for more responses:

Environmental Working Group’s policy analyst Mike Lavender says:
“Today's announcement is further evidence that Congress must reform our badly broken food-to-fuel policies. By failing to reduce the amount of corn ethanol blended into gasoline, the Obama administration today missed an opportunity to immediately reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If we hope to reverse climate change, we need greenhouse gas reductions now, not in 2025, and reducing the amount of corn ethanol in gasoline is among the most effective tools at the administration’s disposal. We urge the administration to quickly finalize a RVO that paves the way for truly “green” biofuels.”

National Chicken Council President Mike Brown says:
“This seesaw process by which the EPA proposes an up-and-down, now-and-later moving target as the compliance year unfolds leaves poultry and livestock producers unable to plan and budget effectively. While corn prices have moderated, volatility and uncertainty are the true business-killers. On top of all of this, we believed at one time that the original RFS included a workable provision that provided for an ‘off ramp’ in times of economic crisis.  On at least two major occasions – in 2008 and 2012 during catastrophic weather events – that belief has proven false. What more evidence does the administration and Congress need to prove the RFS — and the administration of it — is broken beyond repair? Albert Einstein is said to have observed, ‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.’  Today’s announcement is further evidence that our current renewable fuel policy is not only broken, it’s insane.”

House Energy and Commerce Committee's Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and John Shimkus (R-IL) say:
“Businesses and consumers have been waiting a year now for clarity and guidance from EPA, but this decision to completely abandon the 2014 targets only adds to the growing uncertainty and frustration. EPA cannot just choose to arbitrarily ignore the law and the deadlines established by Congress. This unexpected announcement highlights that there are still significant challenges facing the RFS and underscores the need to come together and find a practical, bipartisan solution.”

American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturer’s President Charles T. Drevna says:
“The Obama Administration’s decision to further delay issuing the 2014 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) is a gross dereliction of responsibility that leaves fuel refiners and the biofuels industry alike to navigate a course of ambiguity. Today’s announcement indicates that the Administration plans to continuously mismanage this program in a manner that equates to playing Russian roulette with the nation’s fuel supply at the American consumer’s ultimate expense. The Administration’s inaction demonstrates once again that the non-functioning Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program is irreparably broken. AFPM calls upon Congress to expeditiously resume work on repealing or significantly reforming the RFS. In the meantime, AFPM will seek legal intervention. For three years in a row, the Administration has thumbed its nose at Congress and ignored a crystal clear statutory deadline to issue RVOs by November 30 of the preceding year. For this reason, AFPM today filed a notice of intent to sue EPA over its failure to issue the 2014 RFS regulations, which has languished at the White House Office of Management and Budget since August 22, 2014.”

The National Council of Chain Restaurants’ Executive Director Rob Green says:
“By backtracking on their initial recommendation on the ethanol mandate quota, the White House and EPA have chosen to accommodate a small group of ethanol lobbyists at the expense of American consumers and diners, the nation’s small business restaurant owners and all businesses that support and sustain the food supply chain. This unbelievable non-announcement demonstrates once and for all that the EPA, because of statutory and political considerations, cannot fix the failure of the RFS. Members of Congress should take note. The federal RFS ethanol mandate is irrevocably broken and needs to be repealed immediately. It is time that Congress take the RFS ‘off the menu’ once and for all.”

ActionAid USA’s Director of Policy and Campaigns Kristin Sundell says:
“As the Administration stands by this failed policy, today’s decision to leave biofuels targets unchecked means corn for fuel tanks will be prioritized over food for hungry people around the world. It will also make prices for foods such as corn and soya more unstable, hitting poor people in the US and abroad hardest. Poor people around the world should not have to go hungry to produce fuel for our cars and trucks. Congress must act to reform its biofuel mandates.”

National Marine Manufacturers Association says:
“We have serious, well-documented and data-driven concerns with the safety of high ethanol fuel blends which have been proven to cause damage to marine engines. This damage puts consumers at risk and hurts manufacturers during a time of important economic recovery. The RFS is a broken law which sets unrealistic fuel mandates and requires a long term fix from Congress. NMMA strongly encourages Congress to address the issues of the RFS directly through legislation in order to protect consumers and US manufacturers.”

BoatUS Government Affairs Program Manager Nicole Palya Wood says:
“There is solid scientific data that supports levels of ethanol in gasoline over 10% damage marine engines. The EPA’s failure to efficiently administer this program, utilize its waiver authority and set standards that provide protections for consumers sends a clear message that congress must act now to reform the RFS. We were hoping the EPA would utilize their waiver authority to ease the pressure on the nation’s fuel supply with regard to ethanol. Now, with their failure to act, it’s even more critical we work for a Congressional legislative fix which would bring the investment in safer, more compatible renewable fuels, which was what the RFS originally intended.”