Iowa group warns EPA of cuts to ethanol mandate

Source: by Christopher Doering, Des Moines Register • Posted: Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association urged the White House Monday to withdraw a proposed plan to cut the amount of ethanol that must be blended into the country’s gasoline supply in 2014.

In a 14-page comment submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency, the ethanol group said moving forward with a drop in the Renewable Fuel Standard’s blending level this year would limit consumer choice and boost U.S. demand for foreign oil. In its letter, IRFA provided data on Iowa’s ethanol and biodiesel sales that the group said shows the success retailers have had in meeting and exceeding Renewable Fuel Standard volumes.

“These real, personal testimonies show that if consumers are given the opportunity, they will buy enough higher ethanol blends to exceed the RFS volumes,” said Monte Shaw, director of the IRFA. “If finalized, EPA’s proposal would unnecessarily limit domestic demand for ethanol at a time when that demand is needed most,” he said.

The EPA proposed in November to cut the fuel requirement in 2014 to 15.2 billion gallons of ethanol and other biofuels, 3 billion gallons less than Congress required in a 2007 law. Traditional biofuels, composed mostly of corn, would be reduced to 13 billion gallons from 14.4 billion.

The agency has collected more than 15,000 comments on the proposal from the public. The comment period ends Tuesday.

Iowa, the country’s largest ethanol producer, has 42 refineries capable of producing over 3.8 billion gallons annually, with three cellulosic ethanol facilities currently under construction.