Ag Industry Groups Meet with EPA Official to Discuss Future of RFS

Source: Farm Futures • Posted: Friday, April 11, 2014

25x’25, an organized group of pro-renewable energy groups on Wednesday met with Acting EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation Janet McCabe to outline concerns regarding the agency’s proposal to reduce biofuel blending requirements this year under the federalRenewable Fuel Standard.

Meeting participants – including several farm and ag industry group representatives – stressed support of biofuels, urging EPA to drop its proposal to reduce RFS blending targets.

Pro-renewables group presses for EPA to stay the course on RFS volumes
Pro-renewables group presses for EPA to stay the course on RFS volumes

Participant John Larson, CEO of the National Association of Conservation Districts, said a reduction in the amount of biofuels to be blended into the nation’s transportation fuel supply will reduce revenues earned by farmers that can be used, in part, to pay for conservation measures.

“Any reduction in farm income will, in turn, diminish a producer’s ability to implement the kinds of conservation practices that we have seen generate significant environmental benefits,” Larson said.

Impact on GHG reduction
Carol Werner, executive director of the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, told the EPA official that her organization “look(s) at everything through a climate lens, and biofuels provide important solution sets for dealing with the impacts of climate change.”

She cited a lifecycle analysis done by researchers at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory that found corn ethanol produced in 2008-2012 reduced greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 34% compared to gasoline, even after factoring in hypothetical indirect land use change.

“We urge EPA not to take any steps that would compromise efforts to reduce emissions that contribute to a changing climate,” she said. “We ask you to ensure that the full potential of biofuels can be realized.”

Other topics discussed during the meeting included emerging conversion technologies that will allow the significant amount of biomass feedstocks available in the United States to produce as much as 80-100 billion gallons annually, with much of that supply produced on marginal or underutilized land.

McCabe told the group that EPA understands the multiple and valuable benefits of biofuels and that the agency understands need for policy certainty. She said EPA continues to examine data in pursuit of a viable RFS rule, which the agency is expected to announce in June, and pledged the agency will carefully review all comments submitted on the proposal.

Participants in the meeting included representatives of the American Soybean Association, Croplife America, NACD, National Corn Growers Association, American Council On Renewable Energy, Environmental and Energy Study Institute and the agricultural equipment manufacturing firm CNH.