In response to Friday's announcement from the Environmental Protection Agency that the EPA would not finalize the 2014 Required Volume Obligations (RVO) will not before the end of the year, American Soybean Association President Ray Gaesser highlighted soybean farmer concerns with EPA's inaction on the issue.
"The continued delays create great uncertainty for the biodiesel industry and soybean farmers and limits the industry's ability to invest and expand," said Gaesser.
"The Proposed Rule was unacceptable and would have taken biodiesel backward from the amounts produced and utilized in 2013. However, ASA believes that EPA can and should finalize a 2014 rule that sets the biomass-based diesel volumes at or above the nearly 1.8 billion gallons that were produced and consumed in the U.S. in 2013."
ASA will continue to work with the National Biodiesel Board and industry partners to secure appropriate and beneficial biodiesel RFS volume requirements from EPA and the Administration."
In making the announcement, EPA noted that it would take action in 2015 prior to or combined with the rulemaking for the 2015 RVO standards.
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, issued a statement regarding EPA's decision to delay acting on the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard rule until 2015:
"Today's announcement shows how deeply flawed the EPA's original RFS rule was," said Stabenow.
"The EPA needs to work toward a new rule in 2015 that will provide long-term certainty needed for the advanced biofuels industry to give real competition to Big Oil at the gas pump.
"I urge the administration to make this a priority and take a hard look at how this could seriously set back growth at a crucial time when tremendous progress is being made toward commercial-scale production of advanced biofuels that are creating home-grown American energy."
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey also issued a statement. "It is good news that the EPA has withdrawn the misguided rule they proposed last year and responded to the thousands of public comments opposing their efforts to undermine the RFS. Unfortunately, the ongoing uncertainty continues to hurt the entire renewable fuels industry.
"The past year has been an exciting time in the renewable fuels industry with the first commercial scale cellulosic ethanol plants coming online. However, we have missed opportunities for even more growth in the industry due to the uncertainty created by EPA's initial RFS proposal. Hopefully the withdrawal of this rule signals a larger change in course within EPA where they will be less adversarial and more responsive to the concerns of rural America."
Chip Bowling, Maryland farmer and president of the National Corn Growers Association, in response to EPA's announcement related to the Renewable Fuel Standard, said, "Today's announcement by EPA shows the Administration recognizes the proposed rule was inherently flawed and based on an unworkable methodology. We will continue to work with EPA to ensure that the 2014 and 2015 renewable fuel requirements are consistent with what Congress set forth in the Renewable Fuel Standard.
"Congress created the RFS to help reduce our dependence on foreign oil and to provide cleaner fuel choices for consumers. We will continue working to defend the interests of corn farmers and consumers by holding EPA accountable for implementing the law as enacted by Congress.
"Corn farmers have produced a second record crop in two years-resulting in corn prices that have fallen below the cost of production in many parts of the country. Our members have been frustrated by the uncertainty and delays surrounding the RFS. When the time came for them to speak up, they did so - loudly and forcefully.
"Our growers and allies sent the EPA a clear signal when this proposal was first issued, with nearly 200,000 people responding to the public comment opportunity in opposition to the reduction. Nearly 10,000 farmers called the White House directly.
"We have never before seen so much grassroots interest in a particular issue. Our farmers will continue to raise our voices as necessary in defense of this important policy."
Here is the EPA announcement:
"Today EPA is announcing that it will not be finalizing 2014 applicable percentage standards under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program before the end of 2014. In light of this delay in issuing the 2014 RFS standards, the compliance demonstration deadline for the 2013 RFS standards will take place in 2015. EPA will be making modifications to the EPA-Moderated Transaction System (EMTS) to ensure that Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) generated in 2012 are valid for demonstrating compliance with the 2013 applicable standards."