Both the USDA and Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) insist there are not plans to reduce next year's Renewable Fuels Standard despite the likely reduction in the size of the nation's 2012 corn harvest due to heat and drought. According to Pro Farmer Washington Consultant, USDA Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday said the government has no plans to adjust the RFS mandate, which sets requirements for the amount of corn-based ethanol that must be used in motor fuels. He indicated USDA analysts will meet Friday with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials in a regularly scheduled meeting at which supply and demand are discussed along with other issues. The EPA has the final decision on making any changes in the RFS.
RFA spokesman Matt Hartwig told OPIS reports EPA would adjust the RFS were no more than rumors. Hartwig told OPIS, "[i]n order for EPA to waive RFS requirements, the agency must find that the program is causing economic 'harm.' The agency can reach such a finding on its own, or it can be asked to examine the question of 'harm' via petition from the public. EPA must provide a public comment period and consult with other relevant agencies before making any final decisions regarding a waiver request. In short, EPA cannot waive the overall RFS targets on a whim -- there is a well-defined process for waivers. You may recall, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) filed a petition alleging 'harm' from the RFS in 2008. After a thorough investigation, EPA roundly rejected Gov. Perry's petition," Hartwig told OPIS.