EPA Seeks Comments on RFS

  • Thursday, 30 June 2016 12:07

Redwood Gazette

June 28, 2016

By Troy Krause

In 2005, U.S. Congress established a new national policy known as the renewable fuels standard (RFS). The program was developed as part of the national energy policy.

The RFS required that a certain volume of renewable fuel be used in everything from the gas in vehicles to the heating oil burned in homes in an effort to reduce the use of petroleum-based fuels.

The RFS is under the umbrella of the environmental protection agency (EPA), which has helped to define what constitutes a renewable fuel (such as ethanol) as well as proposing changes to the RFS. This past May, the EPA presented an amended RFS proposal, and the public has until July 11 to make comments regarding that proposal.

According to Collin Peterson, Minnesota’s Seventh District congressman, the EPA proposal needs some work.

The Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) would agree, as it has raised concerns with the proposal to hold the number of gallons of corn ethanol at 14.8 billion gallons rather than the 15 billion gallon standard under the RFS established by Congress.

That equates to 200 million gallons less of ethanol under the proposed RFS, said Adam Czech of MCGA.

“Congress originally called for 15 billion gallons,” said Czech, adding, according to information from the National Corn Growers Association that would result in 71.4 million bushels of corn going unsold and $271 million in lost revenue.

Czech said Minnesota was the first state in the nation to implement a 10 percent mandate in all gasoline sold, and actually the blend being sold is actually closer to 12 percent in Minnesota.

The 10 percent mandate is nationwide, added Czech, who said the corn production in the country easily is able to meet the national demand.

In fact, he added, there is a stockpile of corn in the country right now.

While Peterson said the cut is an issue, he added it could have been worse.

He also said one of the concerns he has with the proposed RFS is with the increase in advanced biofuels in the cellulosic fuel area.

Peterson said at this point there has not been a biomass product that has proven to be an efficient source of fuel and so the RFS mandate for those advanced biofuels is not very realistic. He said he would just as soon see that on hiatus until the availability of a product that works can be figured out.

Peterson said he continues to make efforts to communicate his concerns to the EPA, and he encouraged others to make public comment to the EPA regarding the RFS proposal by the July 11 deadline.

Czech said the public can find a link to the EPA public comment page on the National Corn Growers Web site at www.ncga.org.

Peterson added the food vs. fuel debate has proven to be nonsense, as there is plenty of the commodity to go around. Czech said there is no timeline after July 11 for the EPA to make a decision regarding the RFS.

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