Report: EPA to scale back proposed cuts to Renewable Fuel Standard

EPA RFS Letters Minnesota

This stack of letters are all signed by Minnesota corn farmers supporting the RFS.

A report from Reuters citing industry sources says the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will partially backtrack on drastic cuts to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) it proposed in November.

The original RFS reduction proposal would have cut the target for the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline from 14.4 billion gallons to 13 billion gallons in 2014. The Reuters report says that the final number will likely be 13.6 billion.

From the Reuters story:

The EPA shocked biofuel supporters in November with a draft rule that slashed federal requirements for biofuel use in gasoline and diesel. The agency argued that U.S. energy markets could not absorb the levels of renewable fuels that would be required by a 2007 law.

Since then, though, rising projections for gasoline consumption give the agency leeway to raise its corn ethanol target from November’s proposal of about 13 billion gallons to about 13.6 billion, a biofuel industry source said.

The more gasoline consumed, the more ethanol that can be absorbed before hitting the “blend wall,” the point at which the law would require more ethanol to be used than the 10 percent blend found at most U.S. gas stations.

The rumored adjustment would still leave the corn ethanol target for 2014 far below the 14.4 billion gallons called for by law…

Final EPA targets for ethanol blending in 2014 are expected to be officially announced in June.

Now is the time where we usually use this space to discredit the “blend wall” myth created by Big Oil and wonder why EPA is cutting the RFS at all, even if it is less than its original proposal. But since this is only a media report, we’ll hang tight, keep making our voices heard about the environmental and economic benefits of homegrown ethanol, and wait for something official

Minnesota corn farmers and renewable fuels supporters told EPA in no uncertain terms to not mess with the RFS after the proposed cuts were announced back in November, sending in over 7,000 letters to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

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