The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has denied requests for a waiver of the ethanol mandate component of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) after record-setting drought this summer pushed up corn prices.
EPA says waiving the ethanol mandate would only reduce corn prices by 1% and therefore would provide livestock producers little relief from high feed costs little relief. EPA's air chief, Gina McCarthy, said that "our extensive analysis makes clear that congressional requirements for a waiver have not been met and that waiving the RFS will have little, if any, impact."
EPA had missed its deadline for delivering a decision on the mandate by three days, marking the second time EPA has considered and rejected an RFS waiver request. EPA made its decision in conjunction with the Obama administration.
The RFS mandate requires ethanol consumption of 13.2 billion gallons in 2012 and 13.8 billion gallons in 2013. Get more details on the waiver decision here.
For perspective on the decision, go to profarmer.com.
Statements from various agriculture groups following the announcements:
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) expressed disappointment after the announcement. "In light of the most widespread drought to face the country in more than 50 years, the refusal to grant this waiver is a blatant example of the flawed policy of the RFS," said NCBA President J.D. Alexander, a cattle feeder from Pilger, Neb. "The artificial support for corn ethanol provided for by the RFS is only making the situation worse for cattlemen and women by driving up feed costs."
The National Corn Growers Association supports EPA's decision. NCGA's President Pam Johnson said: "We believe Administrator Jackson appropriately recognized petitioners did not properly prove severe nationwide economic harm had occurred thereby creating no justification for a waiver of the RFS.
"The ethanol industry plays a pivotal role in job creation throughout the country supporting over 400,000 jobs nationwide. This includes many in ethanol plants in rural America. The RFS advances the use of domestically produced renewable fuels, encourages new technologies and enhances U.S. energy independence."