More good than harm

Published on: 12:51PM Aug 08, 2008
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today it is denying a request submitted by the State of Texas to reduce the nationwide Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson says mandated biofuels volumes do more good than harm to the economy and therefore do not fit the criteria established by law for the EPA to waive the national mandate.
EPA conducted detailed analysis, consulted closely with the Departments of Energy and Agriculture, and carefully considered more than 15,000 public comments in response to the Texas request. This is the first RFS-related waiver request, and not likely to be the last.

The EPA decision sends a signal that the U.S. government still supports biofuels development, despite calls from at least 70 legislators to grant the waiver.
After all, if a waiver had been granted, it would have resulted in little incentive for investment in next-generation ethanol. The Department of Energy recently awarded up to $40 million to two cellulosic biorefinery projects.
Should the current RFS be waived any time soon, the department will find it very difficult to find investors in next-generation ethanol, which is the ultimate goal of the RFS.