Renewable Fuels Advocate Calls EPA's Actions Regarding Biofuels a Slap in the Face to FarmersFri, 11 Nov 2016 15:20:50 CST
As farmers across the country harvest more corn than ever before this year, paving the way for a future of opportunity in the ethanol business, RON’s Associate Farm Director Carson Horn took the chance to speak with Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association to gain an understanding of the status of the Renewable Fuel Standard and how the Environmental Protection Agency has been involved in its direction.
According to Dinneen, the Renewable Fuel Standard, passed in 2005 to require refineries to add an increasing percentage of renewable fuels into their fuel mixes. The total number of gallons was expanded in 2007 to 36 billion gallons by 2022. In 2017, the requirement by statute is supposed to reach 15 billion gallons. However, in May of this year, EPA failed to issue that directive letting production requirements slide to only 14.8 billion gallons. It may not sound like much, but Dinneen says it is cause for major concern.
“Two hundred million gallons is two ethanol plants, it’s a couple hundred jobs, but it’s also a great deal in terms of farm income, but more importantly than that - it sends a signal to the marketplace that the EPA and the administration is not really serious about this program,” Dinneen said. “It says to the investors across the country, ‘we’re not going to have a growing market for renewable fuels - we don’t want to invest in new technologies.’”
Dinneen asserts that there is no valid reasoning for this decision. He contends that EPA is working off a narrative that there is not enough gasoline demand and that there is not enough infrastructure to support that much blending of ethanol. This, Dinneen says, “is just flat wrong.”
“In fact we have indeed been blending at a rate more than 15 billion gallons. We can do this,” Dinneen said. “If EPA does not promulgate a final rule at the statutory 15-billion-gallon level - it’ll be a final slap in the face to America’s farmers as they walk out the door.”
Despite Dinneen and the association’s efforts to influence the EPA to make a final decision, he says there is only so much that can be done. However, he seems to want to give the agency the benefit of the doubt.
“At the end of the day, it’s a couple of bureaucrats sitting around, deciding… they know better,” Dinneen said. “I think that they will; I hope that they will. I don’t think they are so callous that at the time as farmers are reaping the single largest corn crop in history, when gasoline prices are extraordinarily low and gasoline demand is rising, that they would say no.”
Listen to Carson Horn’s entire conversation with Bob Dinneen of the Renewable Fuels Association at the recent NAFB Convention, by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.
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