Kansas Corn Frustrated with EPA Decision to Push 2014 RVO Decision to 2015

One year and six days after EPA issued its proposed 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard volumetric requirements (RVO), the Agency issued a notice announcing that it would not finalize the 2014 ethanol targets until 2015. While leaders of the Kansas Corn Growers Association (KCGA) expressed their frustration at today’s announcement of EPA’s decision to further delay its 2014 RVO decision, it applauded EPA’s decision to withdraw the proposed rule that reduced the ethanol requirement.

Last November’s announcement of the proposed 1.4 billion gallon reduction of conventional corn-based ethanol for 2014 drew a firestorm of nearly 200,000 comments opposing the RVO proposal. While EPA announced today that it was withdrawing the proposed rule, the agency announced they would delay their decision on the 2014 RVO target for ethanol until 2015.

“EPA’s prolonged inaction on the RVO issue has created an incredible amount of uncertainty for ethanol producers and corn growers,” KCGA CEO Greg Krissek said. “Nearly 200,000 citizens who commented against the RVO proposed rule worked hard to meet the January 28 comment deadline. Yet, we waited while EPA continued to slide on making a decision on this year’s ethanol targets. Now the decision for this year’s RVO will be made next year. The 2015 RVO was supposed to be set this fall, and we don’t even have a 2014 RVO.

The Environmental Protection Agency issued a notice today announcing that the Agency will not finalize the 2014 RFS volume standards before the end of the year.  The EPA intends to take action on the 2014 RVOs (renewable volume obligations) in 2015. The notice from EPA stated that the 2014 RVO proposed rule “generated significant comment and controversy” and that they are evaluating the purpose of the statute and the “Administration’s commitment to the goals of the statute to increase the use of renewable fuels.” KCGA and NCGA leaders noted that today’s announcement shows the large number of comments from corn grower members and allies were effective and that the Administration understands the proposed rule is flawed.

The Kansas Corn Growers Association along with the National Corn Growers Association strongly disagreed with EPA’s RVO proposal for 2014 and expected EPA to amend its numbers to follow the intent of the Renewable Fuels Act as passed by Congress. Krissek said EPA’s inaction is causing concerns for corn farmers, ethanol producers and the economies of rural communities that benefit from corn and ethanol production.

“The fact that EPA has withdrawn the proposed rule shows that the comments submitted by ethanol supporters were effective. But EPA’s announcement to further delay its decision causes continued market uncertainty and more instability for corn farmers and renewable fuel producers,” Krissek said. “At a time when farmers in Kansas and across the country are wrapping up harvest of a record corn crop and are unfortunately experiencing low corn prices, this would be the wrong time to lower market access for ethanol.

The RVO is the target amount of ethanol that is required to be blended into fuel each year through the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). The RFS provides market access to ethanol producers into a market that is controlled by the oil industry.

NCGA President Chip Bowling pointed out that today’s announcement indicates the Administration recognized the problems with the proposed RVO rule.

“Today’s announcement by EPA shows the Administration recognizes the proposed rule was inherently flawed and based on an unworkable methodology,” Bowling said “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.”