The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last Friday that they will lower the annual requirement for ethanol in gasoline, acknowledging that Congress-mandated levels specified in 2007 law are difficult to meet, drawing instant praise from most food industry and livestock groups who believe the diversion of corn to ethanol has been driving up food prices.
For 2014, the agency is proposing 12.7-13.2 billion gallons of corn ethanol be blended into U.S. gasoline supplies. Altogether, 15.2 billion gallons of renewable fuel are suggested by the agency, about 16 percent less than what Congress specified in the 2007 renewable fuels law according to analysis by the Wall Street Journal. The EPA's proposal is not only lower than what was expected for 2014, but lower than what was mandated in the past two years.
“EPA’s decision to reduce the ethanol mandate is long overdue,” said Mark Dopp, American Meat Institute vice president of regulatory affairs and general counsel. “While this is a positive step, the fact remains the RFS is a flawed policy that requires Congressional action. Even with a record corn crop expected this year, the damaging ripple effect of this defective policy has moved through the meat and poultry complex for the past several years. The time for Congressional action is now.”
Members of Congress have been calling for legislation action, a call that was renewed following the announcement.
“While the EPA’s slight reduction of the RFS for 2014 acknowledges that the mandate is unworkable, it is not enough to provide the much-needed relief businesses, farmers, and consumers need," said Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). “Today’s announcement makes it even clearer that it will now be up to Congress to fix this broken mandate.”
The EPA's proposal will be open to 60 days of public comment before being made final in the spring of next year. To read more, click HERE.