Taking a Look at the EPA Comments

March 11, 2014

As we know, last year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a reduction to the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard—lowering the mandated production volume of ethanol for refiners. In order to make it official, the EPA solicited comments from citizens and groups both in favor and opposed to this reduction.

At the end of January,  the comment period came to a close and we’d like to feature some of the disparate voices that spoke in favor of the reduction.

A diverse group of industries and activists from Boaters to Bakers, Environmentalists to Entrepreneurs, Ranchers to Riders, spoke up in favor of the reduction with some even calling for further reforms to the RFS. Even groups such as the Clean Air Task Force weighed in:

“…The Clean Air Task Force (CATF) is a non-profit environmental organization that works to protect the earth’s atmosphere by improving air quality and reducing global climate change through scientific research, public advocacy, technological innovation, and private sector collaboration…

… The reductions proposed by EPA are not only an appropriate response to the practical constraints related to the E10 blend wall, they are also appropriate in light of the negative environmental impacts associated with Conventional biofuels, especially corn ethanol…”

In addition to advocating for changes to production some groups even spoke out against E15, the controversial blend of 15 percent ethanol in gasoline, which was proposed as solution to meeting the mandate. The AAA said:

“We continue to have significant concerns surrounding the potential for vehicle damage and consumer harm from allowing E15 to come to market before appropriate education has been conducted and protections are in place…

…The bottom line is that E15 is not ready for primetime, as basic levels of consumer awareness and protection have not been met. Our consumer survey indicated that only five percent of Americans have heard of E15, and less than five percent of cars on the road are approved by automakers to use the fuel…”

However, the group suing suggesting to keep the mandate the same looks a bit more… homogenous.

Of the 218 groups who opposed the EPA’s proposed reduction, over 75 percent of these groups have strong ties to the ethanol industry. These groups included

  • 25 corn producers
  • 32 ag groups (farmers, farm unions/bureaus, etc.)
  • 50 biofuel producers
  • 42 biofuel allies (Renewable Fuels Association, National Biodiesel Board, etc.)
  • 18 biofuel vendors (groups that supply biofuel producers)

We hate to oversimplify, but it seems clear that these groups are fighting for a mandate that is only really helping one industry, in one part of the country, while leaving the rest of us out to dry.

That’s why we need to develop a smarter fuel future and reform the RFS.