As expected, EPA extended to October 11 the deadline for public comments on the petitions by two governors for the agency to waive the ethanol Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The 15-day extension announced last week came after the National Corn Growers Assn. (NCGA) formally requested more time since its members were involved in harvest and the federal government needs the most accurate picture possible of available corn supplies.
Oil Industry Says Waiver Complicates Planning, Investment
The oil industry this week waded into the food versus fuel debate, saying if EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson grants a waiver to the ethanol Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) as requested by eight governors, industry, hunger groups and the United Nations, the petroleum industry’s investment in new production and regulatory compliance planning will be seriously compromised. Oil industry executives, meeting with EPA and other Administration officials urged Jackson to “carefully weigh” the comments received on the RFS waiver petitions. EPA has 90 days to decide on the waiver petitions once the comment period closes so no final action is expected before the November election.
Vilsack Pledges RFS Support to Growth Energy
“I don’t want anybody to leave here today thinking that at USDA there is any waiver in our support for this industry,” said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to a meeting with Growth Energy, an association of ethanol refiners and plant builders. In various media reports, Vilsack said he’s told EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson about the “positive aspects” of ethanol, and while USDA is not involved in the final decision on the RFS waiver requested by several governors, the law requires EPA to consult with USDA and the Department of Energy when considering a waiver petition. Vilsack said the corn market is reacting to the drought, meaning exports will drop, feed use of corn will also be reduced, but ethanol production will also drop.