First it was that widely circulated Associated Press article last week that blamed ethanol for soil erosion and other environmental problems. Then the federal Environmental Protection Agency released its proposal to reduce the required use of corn-based ethanol in 2014 in the nation's gasoline supply. The attacks on corn ethanol keep coming.
Late last week the Environmental Protection Agency released its 2014 Renewable Volume Obligations or RVOs under the Renewable Fuel Standard. RVOs are set annually by the EPA and dictate the amount of renewable fuel that needs to be blended into the U.S. motor fuel supply. "Unfortunately, the White House bent to pressure from Big Oil and has proposed to lower the conventional ethanol requirements to 13 billion gallons," says Don Mason, membership services director for the Iowa Corn Growers Association. An estimated 13.8 billion gallons of "corn based" ethanol is being used in 2013.
The current RFS statute requires that 14.4 billion gallons of conventional ethanol be blended in 2014; however, the proposed rule is 1.4 billion gallons less than that requirement because EPA claims corn ethanol has met the E10 blend wall. "ICGA is extremely concerned about the potential corn industry impacts from this proposed cap. EPA needs to hear from corn growers," says Mason. There is a 60-day public comment period on the EPA proposals for the RFS. So they aren't set in stone yet.
Iowa governor has launched a website supporting the RFS
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds have launched a new website in an effort to counter EPA's proposed reduction of 2014 blending requirements. The site, ProtecttheRFS.com, collects comments from citizens about the proposed changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard and sends them to EPA. "The result of this proposed rule change would mean corn prices would plummet below the cost of production, loss of jobs and increased dependence on foreign oil. Concerned citizens cannot sit on the sidelines and wait for the comment period to open. Now is the time to defend and protect the RFS," Branstad says.